This year’s Timber Creek girls basketball team is still young, but they’re more experienced and have an on-court example to follow when things get hectic.
Last year’s Lady Falcons entered the district schedule with a 5-8 record but were able to add just three more wins to the total the rest of the way.
For one of the returning starters, Jazmyne “Jazz” Mason, is confident the district stretch will be more productive.
The junior is poised to take her skill set and make the other Lady Falcons better players, as well.
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Mason said she has worked in the offseason on her ball-handling and her outside game.
The 5-7 guard has been playing more in the paint and has been able to score or set up a teammate for a shot.
Mason said she doesn’t have a preference between driving in the paint or hitting a smooth jumper from the outside.
“I’ll take whichever is open,” she said.
Commenting on her strengths is difficult for Mason, who would prefer to dwell on what she can do for those around her to make the team successful.
“What I see as my role is to be the best team player,” Mason said. “I know what my job is and to make everybody feel comfortable and to trust the decisions I make. We all make mistakes, but I try to be a leader.”
Timber Creek head coach Tina DeMichele said Mason is doing just that.
“She’s our ‘Steady Eddy.’ Day-in, day-out, she leads with her work ethic, attitude and ability. She’s constant,” DeMichele said. “We know what we will get out of her.”
That consistency is the glue for the team to stick together.
“Last year, we had a young team and we still have a young team,” Mason said. “But we’re coming together and play as one. We are playing more within the team and knowing what the strength of the team is. There’s more experience and more learning since we’ve played together and we know everybody on the team and how we play and we trust each other.”
Mason is as solid on defense as she is on her jump shot, not hesitating to take on the other team’s taller scoring threats down low. She seems to take that responsibility as an honor.
“I’ll take on their highest scorer and handle business down there,” Mason said of helping out on the post, saying the height difference isn’t an issue for her.
That’s how Mason demonstrates her leadership.
“She’s not always very vocal,” DeMichele said, “but she gets the job done.”
She also has the ability to lead younger or more inexperienced players in an intense, competitive game.
“When it gets hectic on the court, it’s good to have someone with a level head,” Mason said, “to help us get back on track.”
This season, with more emphasis on Mason being able to use her outside game more effectively, Timber Creek can be more versatile and harder to defend.
“She can play outside or inside, post up and help bring the ball down,” DeMichele added.
Whatever Mason is asked to do, she’ll do it for the team. The team’s goals seem to be more important than what she wants to personally accomplish this year.
“I really just want to help the team out as much as I can,” Mason said of her personal goals. “I want to play at 110 percent. The main goal is to win games and play well. It’s all of our passion. As long as that happens, I’m good.”