Symone Wesley has a tough time believing you when you call her a basketball player. In fact, she’s the first one to tell you that she isn’t.
But when you’ve made your name in volleyball circles, it’s easy to see why. The Grapevine sophomore appears to have a Division I future in that sport. Witness an offer from Houston.
But what Wesley is doing between November and February could be a pretty big factor in the girls basketball team’s hope to make another deep postseason run. She’s coming off making the game-winning shot that helped the Lady Mustangs beat Birdville, 23-21, this past Friday. That was her first thriller.
On a play that called for finding the first open player, senior guard Rylee Hanna found Wesley who came off a screen on the baseline. Wesley took care of the rest.
“That shot did help my confidence,” Wesley said. “This time, I was determined to score. I just want to be more aggressive in my game. I think that just changed my mindset.”
Grapevine (14-9, 8-1 District 8-5A) already knows what it has with Wesley. She’s one of the better defenders and will take on the small forward. Wesley took on Colleyville Heritage junior forward Bryn Gerlich and had some success forcing her to attempt some tough and errant shots. She is also averaging six rebounds per game.
However, the Lady Mustangs need an additional scorer. At times, they’ve had to grind out some tough and sometimes ugly wins. On Jan. 10, the Lady Mustangs defeated Richland, 30-28.
Head coach Lindy Slagle has two pretty reliable scorers in senior forward Jessi Prater and senior guard Tatum Tellin. But a team always needs a third scorer.
That’s where Wesley could emerge. Slagle and her staff have been working with Wesley on different parts of her game, most importantly her ability to elevate and create offense.
“She’s an incredible athlete and plays so hard on the floor,” Slagle said. “Symone has always thought she wasn’t a great player. But she’s earned a starting role for us. She was the newcomer of the year in our district last year. She’s a good rebounder and even better defensive player. But because she can elevate like she can, she can play like she’s 6-0.”
The scoring numbers may not look noteworthy on the grand scale — 4.7 points per game — but plays like the one she made can create a spark. More importantly, the Lady Mustangs will be favored for all of these games until the Feb. 7 season finale at Colleyville Heritage. She can continue to build her game.
“She really wants to score more,” Slagle said. “We’re doing everything we can to put her in that position.”
The only drawback is Wesley’s volleyball schedule. There is overlap, as she played in her club team’s first tournament three weeks ago. Wesley is balancing both practice schedules.
“I’m doing everything possible to mix the two schedules, and the coaches have been awesome to work with me on it,” Wesley said. “The best thing that helps is that in basketball and volleyball, you have to have quickness and know where everything is, fast. That keeps me sharp.”