Lauren Carter, Banks County: Scored 21 points against Franklin County last Tuesday.
Sydney Cleveland, North Hall: Tallied 17 points and five rebounds against East Hall on Saturday.
Eryn Cochran, Towns County: Recorded 22 points against Hiwassee Dam, N.C. on Saturday.
Mackenzie Darrah, Buford: Had 18 points against Tift County on Saturday.
Kaela Davis, Buford: Recorded 23 points against Southwest Atlanta Christian last Tuesday.
Kaitlyn Duncan, Banks County: Scored 16 points against Commerce on Saturday.
Carly Gilreath, Dawson County: Recorded 19 points against Pacelli on Saturday.
Maegan Kenimer, Chestatee: Had 18 points against Stephens County last Tuesday.
Taylor Phillips, North Hall: Tallied 15 points against East Hall on Saturday.
Tavia Sykes, Flowery Branch: Scored 25 points against Apalachee on Friday.
Towns County’s Stephanie Patton has natural talent, according her head coach Jim Melton, but that doesn’t stop the Lady Indians’ star from spending hours on end in the gym taking shots and trying to make herself better.
“She’s kind of a gym rat,” Melton said. “She will come in and work 300-400 shots a day some times.”
All of the hard work has paid off for sophomore Patton, who came off the bench last season as a freshman and ended up being named to the Region 8-A All-Region first team in her first varsity season.
This season, Patton has simply picked up where she left off, scoring 29 points last Friday against Lakeview Academy and 27 on Saturday against Hiwassee Dam, N.C.
For her efforts, she has been named The Times Girls Athlete of the Week.
Patton said that part of the transition she has made this season has been learning to shoot more, which shows in her stats.
“One thing I’ve worked on a lot is being able to shoot and then get myself open,” Patton said.
There is no doubt that Patton is a force on the court, and Melton said she leads by example rather than through direction. Her only weakness, if it can be called so, may be her unselfish quality.
“Sometimes she’s too much of a team player,” Melton said. “She wants to keep her teammates involved, and sometimes she needs to just take the shots.”
Patton’s teammates and family motivate her to get better, and Melton noted how humble she is, which Patton attributes to her dad’s teachings.
“My dad’s had a lot of influence on me,” Patton said. “He may be the reason I play basketball. He pushes me to get better. He’s taught me to be humble, forget everything, and just play and have fun.”
One of Patton’s main goals, along with eventually playing at the next level, is becoming more of an all-around player, but she said that ever since she started playing in the second grade, her favorite part of the sport hasn’t changed.
“My favorite thing has always been shooting,” Patton said.
Seeing as it appears to be her talent, it serves the Lady Indians well, but Melton emphasized how Patton does not flaunt her skills on the court.
“She scores her points quietly when we need a big basket,” Melton said, “but she’s very critical of herself. She’s scored 56 points each of the past two weekends, but even after 27 on Friday, she knows she can do better.”
This work ethic may be a result of playing her freshman year with players like Gabby Arencibia, who is currently playing for North Georgia College & State University, and Patton’s older sister, Lindsay, who plays her college ball at Point University.
“Her sister Lindsay was probably one of the hardest workers I’ve ever coached,” Melton said. “And I think that work ethic has rubbed off on (Stephanie), and if you add on her talent, it just sort of makes her special.”
Patton’s talent is obvious, and she hopes to help Towns County to a number of championships this season, but championship or not, she will have a lot to take away from this year.
“She will have more experience, her decision making will get better, she will physically get stronger,” Melton said.
All of this is in addition to the fact that she is already on the radar of many universities in the area.
“As a sophomore, college coaches are already setting my phone off,” Melton said.
Patton’s superb sophomore season continues this weekend as the Lady Indians travel to Pinecrest Academy at 7 p.m. Friday in Cumming.