‘Give it your all and never give up’: West Point’s Liberty and Laklin Shadix excited for basketball season

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West Point’s Liberty (left) and Laklin (right) Shadix. (Bill Piper/The Cullman Tribune)

WEST POINT, Ala. — Last year, the West Point Lady Warriors had another great basketball season, finishing runner-up in the area and clinching another spot in Sub-Regionals. That season was the first one on varsity for junior Liberty Shadix and eighth grader Laklin Shadix. They learned a lot from that experience and from playing for Coach John Welborn. Now they’re excited to build on that experience this season.

“Being on the varsity team was a lot different than being on JV. It was different because last year was my first season on varsity and I grew a lot. I was used to being a point guard. Coach John Welborn put me down in the post. I learned a lot of post moves,” Liberty said. “He definitely pushes us a lot. He expects a lot out of us, and he always think we should do better than we have been. I learned that we have to be in shape. He’s been teaching me a lot of things down low, and he’s been having me go through some dribbling drills.”

“It was good. It was really different because I was a 13-year-old playing against 18-year-olds. I learned how to have a good attitude, no matter what we’re doing,” Laklin said. “We had to move a lot of JV players up to varsity because we lost three seniors last year. We had to build up and we started playing well. I like coach Welborn because he pushes us to do better every game and at practices, he teaches us some new stuff and, on our drills, it’s not the same drill over and over again. It’s different drills to help us with different stuff. I had to get in rhythm at shooting and dribbling because he wants me to be able to take the ball down the court and shoot and get in the post sometimes.”

They played with three great seniors in Ryleigh Jones, Summer Mendoza, and Braelee Quinn last year and they learned a lot from them as well. They made a lot of progress during the summer play-day games and they have set some goals for themselves and the team.

“They always gave it their all and they always went after it. They taught me to always laugh and make a good moment,” Liberty said. “You shouldn’t expect one person to do it all because we all have to work together as a team. I need to get better at dribbling and shooting the ball more. We need to work as a team more instead of doing individual things. We have a lot of good shooters, and we have some height on our team. We’ll be good to watch because we have a lot of chemistry on this team, and this is going to be a building year this season. We’re all going to be together on the team more and we’re going to building up as we go.”

“They were always confident and always tried to pump us up before the game. They were really good at teaching us new plays. They taught us positivity and communication,” Laklin said. “I learned a pretty good bit about the girls and how they played. When we get back and start playing, I’ll be able to know where they’ll be, so I’ll know if I’m able to pass it to them at low post. I would like to be able to handle the ball better and shoot better. My team goal is to have a better attitude. We’ll be special to watch this year because we’re really young and I think we have good potential this year.”

They watched their oldest sister, Lexi, achieve a lot on the volleyball and basketball court during her years at West Point and they took away so much from watching her play. She gave them some advice to keep in mind while competing as well.

“She always had a good attitude and helped bring everyone up, so I feel like that part in her is in us too,” Laklin said. “She told us to play defense and offense will come. I really loved watching her from the stands. I want to beat her records (laughs). I learned how to have a positive attitude because it makes a big difference.”

“She would always say give it your all and never give up.” Liberty said.

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