Greentown — Naturally, human beings thrive on praise.
Having peers take notice of hard work, no matter how little tangible evidence is produced as a result of that work, can do wonders for a person’s self esteem and continued work ethic.
Many of the members of Eastern’s girls basketball team have gone about their business in thankless fashion this season as the Comets have cleared hurdle after hurdle on their way to the Class 2A state finals.
Senior twin sisters Brittany and Bethany Neeley have combined to score 65 percent of the team’s points this season, and as a result, have received the bulk of the media attention and congratulatory messages.
All the while, players like Taylor Holliday, Ally Oyler, Mercedes Rubow and Jessie Sprinkles have gone about their business, performing the types of tasks that don’t always show up in the boxscore.
And if you ask them, they’re all more than happy to do their part, no matter how tedious and trivial.
“They’ve been huge. They’re what’s allowed us to jell as a group,” Eastern coach Jeremy Dexter said. “They’ve stepped up numerous times throughout this run. The whole group has been huge for us in getting us here. There are countless examples of our kids being selfless. They’ve found their niche, they’re role, and they’re able to excel in those roles because they’ve bought into the idea that the only people who matter is the members of our team family. Kids buying into roles is vital to any team making a championship run.”
A 6-foot sophomore, Holliday has turned herself into a formidable third option on offense and defensive stopper in the post.
On the season, Holliday is averaging 8.0 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. However, she’s averaging a double-double, 10.8 points and 10.3 rebounds, during the postseason, giving the Comets a vital presence around the basket.