HOLLY POND, Ala. — Eighth grader Madison Butts will be on this year’s Holly Pond varsity squad and after playing on the middle school team for a couple of years, she’s excited for the opportunity to show what she can do on the varsity level. Playing in middle school and playing for Coach Lydia Burgess really helped her get prepared for varsity.
“It feels pretty good being able to play higher-level competition. It’s going to be a little bit tougher than it was in middle school because the competition is going to be better, but I’ve got to practice and prepare. You’ve got to go at it, and I’ve got to try my hardest,” Butts said. “I worked more on dribbling and that kind of stuff. I learned more about the smaller details and the basics, so when I get to play on the higher level, that stuff is more simple and easy for me. What I learned from her is how to step up and sometimes, I may have to put more effort in and try harder sometimes. She was a really good coach. She helped me learn a lot and she pushed us a lot to be the best that we can be.”
Madison has some nerves when she started practicing with the Lady Bronco varsity team, but that quickly went away, and her confidence kept growing more and more each day. She has taken away so much from her teammates so far. She’s learned a few things from new head coach Mary Lauren Hartline so far and she also took away some things from the team’s play-day games.
“I was a little nervous, but right when I started playing, I had the mindset that I could do it because coach Hartline believed that I was able to do it. I just had that confidence mindset that I could do it and I just tried my hardest,” Butts said. “The girls have helped me a lot and have been very welcoming; they’ve helped me keep my head up and be more confident. Whenever I missed a few shots, they would pick me up and they were really supportive: they’ve been really good role models. There are two players that have really inspired me a lot and took me in like a little sister: Maddi Ham and Kamryn Tankersley. They have both become a very important part of my life.
“No matter who the team is, come out with a good mindset, be confident, don’t let yourself get out and I’ve got to push myself. She’s a really good coach for me. I feel like she’s going to help me be the best that I could be right now, so I feel like she’s going to help me push myself and to get better. What I learned from playing in the play-day games was that sometimes, I’m going to have to do what I have to do to score, maybe play good defense, or rebound. I also have to be a leader, step up and talk, so that everybody is on the same page. I think it’s going to help everybody notice that you’re going to have to step up at some point. It doesn’t matter what grade you are in, you are going to have to step up no matter what.”
Madison has been working on some things during the summer and has some individual and team goals for this season. She talked about what will make this team special to watch this season and she has been really happy to see her game continue to improve over the years.
“I worked on stepping up and being a leader over the summer. I worked on communicating with the girls and talking. I’ve been working on everything,” she said. “My individual goals are shooting the ball more consistently and help my teammates stay up and being more positive no matter what the outcome is. Just look at the good and help everybody stay up. Some team goals are to communicate on defense, and everybody needs to box out and rebound. Also, we need to know what we’re doing on offense and defense and just help each other.”
“What will make us special to watch this season is the communication, our teamwork, keeping everybody up and everybody being positive. It makes me really happy to see my game continue to improve and I will look to keep doing that. I will bring ball-handling, passing, and I’m going to bring a lot of energy, helping everybody communicate and just being positive.”
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