When the Fossil Ridge girls basketball team takes to the floor this season, there will be a familiar face poised to lead them into a promising year.
Grayson Bright will be a returning starter for a team which will look to get back to the playoffs again this season.
Bright, a 6-1 senior forward, has been on the varsity team since her freshman year. Although she spent her sophomore year at a local private school, she returned as a junior to help lead Fossil Ridge as an all-around mainstay on the team.
Bright was recognized for her talent, being named the District 5-6A Offensive Player of the Year. She also has drawn accolades from her head coach, Stacy Henson.
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“She is a complete offensive threat because of her ability to put the ball on the floor and attack if defense runs at her or to shoot the ball if the defense is soft,” Henson said. “One aspect of her game that is becoming more apparent to me this year is that she is a phenomenal passer. She is also a great defender because of her intuition. She makes a lot of plays because she can read it so well,” Henson said.
That ability has also caught the attention of Texas Tech, as Bright was signing a National Letter of Intent to play for the Lady Red Raiders this week.
Looking to improve upon her nearly 18 points-per-game average, Bright acknowledged her passing and defense are becoming stronger parts of her game and arsenal.
She focused on her ball-handling skills, as well, especially in her off season and time spent on the select league team Texas United Nike.
“I was passing the ball well during the summer,” Bright said. “I’m always working on my ball-handling and [the coaches at] Tech want me to become a more consistent shooter and release the ball faster.”
Before she arrives in Lubbock next year, Bright has her sights set on another playoff season and other goals. But how do you improve on being named an Offensive Player of the Year?
“I guess to be the MVP,” Bright said, “but I’ll have to work hard for that. Others in the district are very competitive and they will push me to be the best I can be, and maybe I will push them.”
In addition to her skills, Bright is a leader for the Lady Panthers, too.
“Grayson is a great leader on and off the floor,” Henson added. “She is a person of integrity with a great work ethic. She leads by being the hardest worker on the floor day in and day out. It has been very exciting to watch Grayson grow and mature not only as a player, but more importantly as a person.”
Henson added that, although she’s a senior, Bright has just turned 17.
All the pieces together just help round out a cohesive Fossil Ridge team.
“I’m in a leader role because of my experience,” Bright said. “But this year is different because there are others that are willing to go 110 percent.”