Mary Sutton ’15 started playing basketball in the second grade, beginning with a local recreational league at the YMCA. She has been playing ever since and is now in her fourth and final season on the varsity team at PHS. Sutton has been a point guard since her freshman year.
“I love playing point guard. You get to dictate what happens because you get to pass the ball and give it to other people,” said Sutton. “I think assists are better than shots sometimes.”
However, while Sutton does focus on and take pride in making assists, she was also the leading scorer of the team last year. She scored 120 points last season and hopes to score even more in her senior year.
“Even though [Sutton] really is more of a shooter, I think she wants to be [point guard], and she can handle the ball well,” Head Coach Dan Van Hise said. “She grew into that role a lot last season; she started to look for her teammates a little bit more and tried to set them up for good shots. That being said, I would love to have her be more of a scorer, too.”
Sutton still has a talent for scoring points in dramatic ways, according to Van Hise. “She’s got a little bit of a flare for the dramatic … She’s got that sense where she wants to be the one to shoot the ball at the end,” he said. For instance, in the girls’ game against Nottingham High School on February 7 last year, Sutton scored the winning points with a buzzer-beating shot, making the final score 34–33.
While the girls basketball team has not had a winning record during her time on the team, Sutton hopes to win more games this coming season as well as for the players to improve their skills. Personally, Sutton has worked to improve by coaching at basketball camps over the summer and by staying in shape during her cross country season. “During cross country I focused on running because I didn’t want to take any risks and get injured,” Sutton said. “I feel like that has helped me [condition] for basketball.”
Sutton is one of two senior captains this season, working alongside Mira Shane ’15. However, she does not think that this will radically change her role as a leader, as she believes that leadership can and has come from anyone, regardless of grade. “I don’t really think there’s a difference from being a sophomore, a junior, or a senior, except for this year I have the title of being the captain,” Sutton said. “In the past I’ve always tried to lead by example and tried to be the best I can be to try to inspire the other athletes on the team, so in that sense I don’t think anything’s really changed this year.”
“Mary’s definitely a competitive girl, so that helps out with her leadership,” Van Hise said. “She’s got that natural ability where in her play she’s a leader, so I think that will go a long way for her.”
Sutton believes another important component of both individual and team growth is confidence. “If you don’t have confidence, you’re not going to play well. As I’ve grown older, I’ve become more confident on the court, not only in my ability but in my teammates’ abilities,” Sutton said. “We all need to have faith in each other and be confident in everyone’s abilities.”
“Because [Sutton] has been with the program for four years and has been playing varsity ball for so long, I think she has a confidence that flows through her, which helps out a lot,” said Van Hise.
Sutton does not plan to play basketball in college, but she does hope to run cross country and track.