It’s easy to be obscured by the Ali Patberg wake as she passes.
But when I retell the story of Columbus North’s victory against Homestead in the Indiana Class 4A state title game at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse, one of the most prominent parts of the tale will involve Patberg’s senior teammate, Sheyanne Street.
Take away Street’s four huge 3-point baskets, and The Republic’s Sunday paper could have been titled “Tears, sighs and frowns.”
Those weren’t just points, they were statement baskets. The two in the first half had that “we’re not going away” feeling attached.
The two second half treys, which came late in the third quarter and answered big baskets by the Spartans, were daggers to the competitive heart. North was staging a furious rally and Homestead was doing a nice job to re-establish momentum.
Twice, though, after the Spartans grabbed the lead back, Street unloaded from long range on the other end. And these weren’t rattle-around-the-rim shots that eventually fell. Ever watch those numbered balls sucked up the tube by a blast of air in bingo? These shots had that kind of action. Thhhhoooopp.
What makes it all even more fascinating is those shots came from a girl who simply believed in herself, even when she hit obstacles during her high school career that would have caused others to pack away their basketball shoes and enjoy nice, uncomplicated student life.
Street, who is bigger on heart than pure athleticism, was caught up in the numbers game of a team stocked with talent, so much so that she seldom played her junior year. I’m sure many of us, myself included, have been told by a high school coach that we aren’t as good as the other players. Ouch.
It can be really hard to take, especially if you have spent years playing really well against those starting in front of you. How can this be?
Street didn’t give up and became a key role player her senior season. Let’s say that again, “a role player.” It’s not what she had envisioned, but it was an opportunity.
All Street did was to prove she deserved more time. As the season progressed, she did more than just knock down shots. She fought for rebounds and got some key steals. She was making a big impact in a small amount of time.
When the championship moment came on the state’s biggest stage, Street never flinched. She proved, on the court, that she belonged with the very best high school basketball players in Indiana.
For all the high school students out there who have landed reserve roles that tear them apart inside, familiarize yourself with Street’s story. Take what precious moments you earn and let it rip. Be ready for the moment, and unafraid.
You might just walk away a champion.
On Thursday, the Indiana Coaches of Girls Sports Association announced its All-State Team. There, listed on the third team, was Street.
If you wonder why North’s coaching staff might have had such a hard time giving Street minutes, note that Patberg and North sophomore Maliah Howard-Bass were named to the first team. Junior Paige Littrell and senior Debie Gedeon were selected on the second team. Starting junior center Elle Williams was a third-team selection.