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
  • Advantage, Diemer

    Every pitcher wants to get the advantage against every batter she faces. Edgewood lefty Taylor Diemer gave herself that edge and it proved to be key as the Warriors topped Madison, 1-0, Friday at Edgewood.

    April 19, 2014

  • Scholastic Statistics:

    SOFTBALL
    NON-CONFERENCE
    Edgewood 1, Madison 0
    at Edgewood

    April 19, 2014

  • Scholastic Schedule:

    SATURDAY, APRIL 19
    Baseball

    Brookfield at Conneaut (1)
    Grand Valley at Berkshire (10)
    Chardon at Madison (DH, 11)
    Edgewood at Fairport (11)
    West Geauga at Riverside (11)

    April 19, 2014

  • Spartans knock around Dragons

    After being cooped up in gymnasiums for the better part of the season so far, the Conneaut and Lakeside softball teams were just happy to get onto a diamond. Playing for the first time in nearly a week, the Spartans toppled the Dragons, 11-2, Thursday afternoon at Lakeside.

    April 18, 2014

  • PV can’t get past Mathews

    Thursday afternoon at Pymatuning Valley, the visiting Mathews Mustangs were able to do what every coach hopes for — execute. They played a clean game from start to finish in every facet of the game, and that carried the Mustangs to an 8-2 Northeastern Athletic Conference victory.

    April 18, 2014

  • Scholastic Statistics:

    BASEBALL
    NAC
    Matthews 8, PV 2
    at PV

    April 18, 2014

  • Scholastic Schedule:

    FRIDAY, APRIL 18
    Baseball

    Geneva at Edgewood (11)
    Niles McKinley at Edgewood (5)
    Conneaut at Lakeside (4:30)
    Madison at Euclid (4:30)
    Softball
    Madison at Edgewood (4:30)
    Geneva at Mentor (10, DH)
    Tennis
    Conneaut at Madison (4)

    April 18, 2014

  • Justin Butler Justin time

    It was just four short years ago that Justin Butler was spending his fall on a soccer field.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Don A Don McCormack column: ‘Kids’ stuff’ spurs great responses

    I’m often caught more than a bit off-guard by what stories, features or columns generate responses from you, Loyal Readers, much more so than those who do not.
    For example, the column that appeared in this space a couple of days ago regarding things yours truly and my buddies did as kids prompted more than a few responses.
    A sampling, many of which were posted on my Facebook page:

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • kyle GANG GREEN

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

Sports Week in Review April 14 to 19
Sports Week in Review April 7-12
Spring Sports Practice in Ashtabula County
2014 AP BB Tourney Top 25
2014 AP BB Tourney Scoreboard
2014 AP BB Tourney News
2014 AP BB Tourney Photos
Star Beacon-Ed Batanian Senior Classic
Girls Regional Basketball Action
Week of Champions
Sports Week in Review February 21, 22
Grand Valley at Edgewood Boys Basketball
Sports Week in Review Feb. 3 to 8
Sports Week in Review January 30 to Feb. 1
Sports Week in Review January 13-18
Sports Video Archive
House Ads
AP Video