FORTVILLE — It’s not easy to trust a freshman on the basketball court.
They’re often not as strong or quick as their older opponents. Freshmen aren’t experienced in high-pressure varsity situations. And their leadership skills are usually a few years away from taking shape.
Sydney Shelton is not your typical freshman. Mature — on and off the court — beyond her years, the Mt. Vernon point guard is Hancock County’s second-leading scorer, and perhaps the deciding factor in the Marauders’ attempt to make a second straight State Finals appearance.
“I feel bad for her because she’s got to do it all, basically,” said Mt. Vernon coach Julie Shelton, who added a “heck no” when asked if she’s ever relied more on a freshman than she has of her niece in 15 years as a head coach.
The Class 3A No. 7-ranked Marauders lost Indiana All-Star point guard Jessica Brown to graduation this summer, along with capable ball handler Kelsie Owens. The only experienced guard returning from last year’s 23-6 state runner-up squad was Rachel Houck, a senior more accustomed to the shooting guard spot.