Athlete of the Week: Team success key for McCarthy

_MG_9070Forgive Socastee High basketball standout Sierrah McCarthy if she is enjoying every moment of her junior season so far.

That’s because in addition to having a great start to the 2013-14 campaign, including earning the Mammy’s Kitchen Athlete of the Week award, she hasn’t been able to play a full season for the Lady Braves.

After moving North between the fifth and seventh grades, McCarthy returned to Socastee and made the varsity squad as an eighth grader but saw little playing time. Just as she began to emerge as a freshman, she suffered a season-ending foot injury.

After fully recovering and returning to the court for the Lady Braves as a sophomore, McCarthy sustained a shoulder injury that once again cut her season prematurely short. Now she’s back as a junior and setting the nets on fire, but you can see why she’s a bit gun shy when it comes to looking to far into the future.

“I haven’t had a healthy season yet so right now I’m just enjoying playing and hoping to avoid any injuries,” said McCarthy. “We’ve got a good team and a chance to have a good season and I want to be a part of it.”

So far McCarthy is much more than a part of it. The shooting guard is leading the 4-3 Lady Braves in scoring with 16 points per game, as well as four rebounds and two steals per contest. But it’s her all-around game and leadership she brings to the young team that has coach Ginger Ford singing her praises.

“She is an aggressive scorer and can drive and shoot the 3,” Ford said. “Her defense and rebounding are so much improved from last year and she has become a solid leader. she is one of the captains as a junior and is very vocal in practice.”

McCarthy made the most noise in last week’s win over Loris when she scored a career-high 26 points while connecting on seven 3-pointers. Despite the personal accolades that came with the big game, McCarthy is quick to share the credit with her teammates.

“I had the hot hand and my teammates kept passing me the ball,” she said. “We have good team chemistry and when you have that it doesn’t matter who scores as long as we win. You can’t have just one star. It takes a team to win.”

Socastee has had its share of wins and losses so far, but that’s all part of the learning process for the young squad. The Lady Braves have a few more warmup games over the holidays before opening region play, which is when the real season begins. If she can stay hot and healthy, McCarthy will be a key part of Socastee’s success.

“We’ve just got to keep playing together and getting better,” McCarthy said. “We’re definitely pushing for a region title and I believe if we can keep improving as a team we can accomplish our goals.”

Photo by Nancy Thompson

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