By Colin Harris | Staff writer
No one player symbolizes the rise of the Southeast Pirates girls basketball team quite like senior forward Shayna White.
Coming off of a one-win season four years ago to four wins in 2010, Southeast burst through in 2011-12 with a 12-win campaign. White, then a junior, emerged as the Portage Trail Conference County Division's elite post player.
The 2012-13 season has seen White and her Pirates teammates take another step forward as they lead the division at the turn of the season, with a pivotal matchup with Waterloo on Saturday.
White is right there at the front with 19.5 points and 14.8 rebounds per game.
"As Shayna has improved as a player, so has our program," Southeast head coach Bob Dunn said. "I've been coaching this team for three years, and I don't think I've seen Shayna miss one practice or open gym or anything involved with this team."
White's dedication to the sport is obvious by her play.
A force in the paint, the 5-foot-11 White is one of the most prolific scorers and rebounders in recent league history. And she is doing it in the face of double and triple teams.
A focused White said she refuses to let anything take her out of her self-created comfort zone.
"I really don't get frustrated by," White said of her additional defensive attention."I just try to stay pretty focused, and I just do what I am capable of doing. I can't spend a lot of time worrying about those things."
Dunn said that the attention White draws game in and game out has only made the team that much stronger.
"Shayna puts up (big numbers), but she is one of those players who makes everyone better," Dunn said. "When teams are double or triple teaming her, that just means her teammates are open and she'll definitely kick the ball out to them. She has had a few games already this year where she's had three or more assists."
When she's not filling up the stat sheet, Dunn said that his star forward is a regular face at Southeast's youth and junior varsity basketball games -- a sign that his senior forward has embraced a big part of what it means to be a star player.
White downplayed it all, saying that her involvement with the program is just her way of supporting future generations.
"I'm friends with the younger kids, so I just like doing what I can and showing support," said White, who also coaches youth soccer at Southeast. "I know what it would have meant to me if someone came and watched me play or helped me when I was young."
If White remains healthy and continues at her current pace, Dunn said that the Pirates' forward could possibly crack the 1,000-point mark, despite only playing two-and-a-half seasons of varsity basketball.
While individual accolades would be great for the trophy case, White said that a successful season would require a great deal more.
"I've never had a winning season before last season," White said. "It feels pretty good when you start wining and turning things around, so we want to win a league title and be able to cut down the nets at our gym. But we do know that we have to take every game one at a time."