The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

April 8, 2013

ACBF brings out the stars

11th annual gala proves a slam dunk

CONNEAUT — Geneva coach Nancy Barbo described Eagles senior forward Natalie Thomas as the ultimate team player.

“Natalie simply is a coach’s dream and the epitome of ‘team first, me second,’” Barbo said.

It was that attitude that led to the senior being named the Ashtabula County Basketball Foundation Player of the Year.

Thomas, who led Geneva in rebounding at 10 per game while also contributing 10.8 points per game, reinforced her coach’s high praise by talking about her appreciation for the team concept.

“I’ve come upon this question, ‘would you rather be champion in a team sport or an individual sport?’ ” Thomas said. “My answer was I would rather be a champion in a team sport, which is obviously what basketball is. And I think that might be the reason why I love it so much.

“We were always there for each other and with an individual sport you don’t always have a team there for support or encouragement and that’s why I love playing a team sport.”

Thomas, whose three-minute speech sounded as if it was coming from someone much wiser than a high school player, further explained her enjoyment of her team.

“During the ups and downs of the season, everyone loses,” she continued. “Sometimes it’s a game you expected to lose and sometimes they are shockers. Throughout the season, I learned that you must shake off the poor performances, bad breaks and what should’ve been and move on. Just like in life, you don’t win every game.

“As a member of this team I learned I need to pick up my teammates when they’re having an off day and they’ll pick me up when I’m having an off day. When we fell short as a team, we just worked harder the next day and carried on.”

Thomas said that with the help of Barbo she learned how to treat every season the same, whether it was successful or unsuccessful.

However, Thomas and the class of 2013 — which included reigning ACBF POY Becky Depp — didn’t experience much of the latter during their time at Geneva.

“Resiliency seems to be in short supply these days,” she said. “In all aspects of the world, people seem to be quicker to quit when things aren’t going well. Basketball has taught me that whether we went 20-3 or 3-20, we work every day as hard as we can to get better.

“It isn’t just about being better than the other team on the court, it’s also about being better as a team than we were the week before. In my four years, I will remember the Geneva Eagles basketball team for the good teams, wonderful moments and great friends. This game of basketball has helped me navigate through one of the toughest times in my life.”

Thomas credited the Geneva coaching staff for teaching her lessons that will go beyond just basketball and will carry over into the rest of her life.

“I learned with the help of my coaches, lessons that will help me in life and through my college years,” she said. “I’ve been blessed by God to be able to play and I am going to truly miss this time in my life. However, I’m forever grateful for the memories that I have.”

Text Only
Sports
  • Sam Going strong!

    Back on track... and still alive and kicking, er, hitting!

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • 18U Outlaws split first two

    A stirring rally in their last at-bat allowed the Ohio Outlaws 18-and-under squad to prevail in its first game at the Eastern National Tournament on Thursday in Sterling, Va.

    August 1, 2014

  • UMC rolls to church title

    The Andover United Methodist Church co-ed softball team capped a successful season by applying the basics. Timely hitting and solid defense both came into play as they polished off the losers’ bracket winner, New Life Fire of Geneva, 10-4, to claim the Ashtabula Church Co-ed Softball League — Thursday Massucci Division championship.

    August 1, 2014

  • Indians Mariners sink Tribe

    Another difficult day on the trade front ended with a disappointing loss for the Cleveland Indians.

    August 1, 2014 2 Photos

  • Taylor Outlaws edged by a run

    The slimmest of margins proved to be the difference in determining the outcome of a clash between the Ohio Outlaws Gold and the Virginia Shamrocks in the USA-ASA 16-and-under Nationals on Wednesday in Salem, Va.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Olivia-smile A Don McCormack column: Holt right at home at Mount

    When a young person from this area goes off to college and continues to play sports at the next level, we do feature stories on them.

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • Twin State Night at Raceway 7 next

    This week is the annual Twin State Club night at Raceway 7. Regular racing will be presented in all five divisions. With the points races nearing their conclusion the racing will be hot as August weather Friday night.

    July 31, 2014

  • Tribe Kluber twirls gem

    “The ace is gone. Long live the ace.” That’s how Indians fans might be looking at matters today.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • SB1 Let’s play another

    It pays to have the right hitters at the plate at the right time.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • Outlaws roll again

    They may be Outlaws by name, but the Northeast Ohio-based Ohio Outlaws Gold are certainly running with the in crowd at the USA-ASA 16-and-under Nationals in Salem, Va.

    July 30, 2014

Little League All-Stars July 1 to 12
AP NASCAR Lastest News
AP NASCAR Sprint Cup Schedule
AP NASCAR Sprint Cup Standings
AP Auto Racing Photos
West Side Shootout 2014
Ashtabula County at State Track Meet
Jefferson vs Akron St. Vincent St. Mary Regional Softball
District Track 2014
Jefferson District Softball Tournament
Bob Walters 50 Years
Geneva vs Perry Division II District Semifinal
Sports Week in Review May 12 to May 17
Sports Week in Review May 5 to May 10 2014
Sports Week in Review April 28 to May 3
Sports Video Archive
House Ads
AP Video