Published: Jan 10, 2011 02:53 PM
Modified: Jan 10, 2011 06:37 PM
APEX - Middle Creeks Amber Battle can miss shots and fail to come down with a rebound like any athlete, but the fundamentally sound post player on the Mustangs girls basketball team is rarely caught out of position.
In Middle Creeks 57-52 overtime win Friday at Apex, the 6-foot-3 senior positioned herself to hit a 3-point field goal early in overtime and then sank 3-of-4 free throws late in the extra session.
Shes a very skilled basketball player, but above and beyond that shes a great kid that works hard, Middle Creek coach Wes Petty said. When you have those kinds of kids, good things are going to happen.
Battle, the schools career-record holder in rebounds and block shots, finished with a near-triple-double of 18 points, 11 rebounds and eight blocked shots.
Middle Creek senior guard Fantasha Tyson, who had 17 points, hit a layup with 9 seconds left to force overtime.
We have a team that can shoot outside or take it inside, Battle said. We can take the opposite of what the defense is doing.
Battles basketball background is a mix of being genetically blessed and putting in the work to learn the fundamentals from her parents. Her father, Alvin Battle, played on N.C. States 1983 NCAA championship team coached by Jim Valvano. Her mother, Debbie Shugart Battle, played on the Wolfpacks womens team for the late legendary coach Kay Yow.
My parents started me out when I was young, and I have loved it ever since, Battle said. Its been pretty much all basketball with me. I tried playing volleyball when I was in eighth grade, but I didnt love it like I do basketball.
Following in the footsteps of two parents could've been double the pressure, but Battle says her joy for the game superseded feeling pressure before she was old enough to understand the concept.
It can be pressure at times, but I do it because I love it, she said.
Petty said Battle has added a dimension to her game every year since arriving on the varsity as a freshman. Last season it was her 3-point shot. This year its getting stronger and more aggressive with her inside play to prepare her for college. Battle will play at the University of Richmond next year.
I want to have an inside and outside game, Battle said. Ive developed the 3 and now I have to be able to go up with contact and be more aggressive. I have to get in the weight room everyday for college.
Apex (5-8, 3-7) was playing its third game in four days when the Cougars fell to the Mustangs (10-5, 6-3) as senior Heather Muller scored 20 points.
Were close to being a good team, Apex coach Scott Campbell said. But weve got to take the next step.