PITTSBORO — On Saturday, Northwood junior Skylar Adams played with a bandage on her left hand.
She’s been playing with a broken finger for a while now. Senior Te’Keyah Bland remembers when Adams first injured her finger in a 54-40 loss to Millbrook earlier this season. She remembers how her younger teammate fought through the pain and played the remainder of the game.
After Northwood’s win over Jordan-Matthews on Saturday, Bland applauded Adams’ efforts once again.
“She’s still playing,” Bland said. “She just tapes it up.”
If you were in attendance at the Northwood girls’ basketball team’s 62-2 defeat of Jordan-Matthews, you probably didn’t see much of Adams. She only had two points in the game. However, the junior led the team in assists — a testament to Adam’s versatility and constant contribution to the Chargers’ success.
“Skylar is doing a really good job for us in a lot of areas,” Northwood head coach Kerri Snipes said. “She’ll bring the ball up for us. She will be a guard on the wing. She’s done a really good job of attacking but then she’s also got a good outside shot as well.”
While Snipes will tell you that Adams is “not scared to shoot it, even from deep” and that she’s “got a good-looking shot,” this confidence took nearly an entire offseason of encouragement. After serving as an integral defender in Northwood’s 3A state championship run as a sophomore, Adams knew she had to do more her junior year.
“Last year I would always guard (the opponent’s) best player and was mainly focused on getting defensive stops,” Adams said. “But this year, losing all the seniors we lost, I knew I had to step up and score a few more points than last year.”
Adams said she draws inspiration from older teammates Bland and Gianna McManaman, as well as many of the seniors on last year’s roster.
In particular, the advice of recent graduate Olivia Porter stuck out to Adams. Porter averaged 18 points per game last season and is a current first-year on the Michigan State women’s basketball team.
“Olivia always told me to keep shooting it even when my shots weren’t falling,” Adams said. “Everyone was just encouraging me.”
Adams, who averaged nearly seven points per game as a sophomore, is now averaging nearly 10 in her junior campaign.
“She’s definitely taking more shots and I think that’s great,” McManaman said. “She’s taking more threes. I love that. In practice she’s killing me in threes. She’s been shooting really well.”
Adam’s rebounding (3.5 per game) and block (0.5) stats have also improved — a testament to the increased aggressiveness her teammates have praised her for. The same exact vigor is applied to Adams’ dribble drive, which McManaman described as “slimy.”
While Adams was rather quiet on Saturday, she’s put her “slimy” skills on display when they mattered, such as her last-ditch efforts against Millbrook. In the very same game in which Adams broke her finger, she carried the energy of the Chargers in the final stretch. With a varied arsenal of spin moves, Adams either got to the rim for a lay-up or was fouled and sent to the line.
Despite the ultimate outcome of the game, Adams ended with 14 points in a game in which she broke her finger.
Regardless of injuries or nagging pains, Adams is dedicated to fulfilling her expectations as a scorer for the Chargers. She also knows that next year, the departure of Bland and McManaman will force her to make yet another jump.
“I’ll probably have to step up even more next year,” Adams said. “Definitely getting my teammates involved but scoring enough for myself where we can get a win at the end of the game.”
And if you ask Adams, she’s more than ready to follow in her older teammates’ footsteps and “put on a show.”
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