Archive for Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Porchia a true leader

December 24, 2008

There was no denying Starian Porchia’s excitement Friday night in the moments after the Bonner Springs girls basketball team picked up its first victory of the season.

“Thank you!” Porchia said when congratulated on the win, a grin stretched across her face from ear to ear.

“It really feels great,” she said of the 58-30 victory over Turner. “We all worked hard. Everyone chipped in. It feels nice to not just have one person you have to depend on. We can depend on each other.”

Notice the word “we.”

That, in a nutshell, is what Porchia is all about, and that makes her the ideal leader for the Bravettes at this pivotal point in the program’s development.

Porchia is one of just two seniors on a Bonner Springs varsity roster that includes three juniors, two sophomores and four freshmen. Rosters with that much youth and inexperience tend to have a difficult time winning games in a talent-rich league like the Kaw Valley League. Facing such adversity, it can be tough to keep things in perspective as young players learn and grow.

It can be even tougher on seniors who are worried about things such as playing time or wins and losses during their final season of high school basketball. They can be a positive asset or a major distraction. They can lead by example or they can get in the way.

BSHS coach Clay Oakes said Porchia has chosen to do the former.

Porchia isn’t a multi-year starter. She doesn’t have extensive floor experience. She’s not her team’s top scoring threat. She understands all of that, but she brings things that are much more valuable to the program: humility, work ethic and a welcoming presence.

“Starian has been phenomenal,” Oakes said. “When we were really getting on them this week in practice and really drilling on them, she kept that positive attitude and she kept telling them to work hard and don’t let down, continue to work hard no matter what.

“Her leadership is just awesome. During practice it’s awesome. During games it’s awesome. She’ll do anything you ask. She’s very coachable. She listens and she wants to learn.”

Spend a few minutes talking with Porchia and it becomes clear that none of this is about her. Sure, she’d love a few wins — she definitely was savoring Friday’s victory — but she sees the bigger picture. She looks at the players around her and sees potential. She sees girls who are willing to fight for each other, through floor burns and elbows and bruises.

As a longtime underclassman playing behind more experienced players, she knows it’s important that the young players feel welcome. It’s her program, but it’s also their program. She’s willing to put in the grunt work now in order to savor their successes in a year or two — if not sooner.

“I think the thing I like most about this team this year is it’s not senior-dominated,” she said. “It’s a team that everyone feels a part of. I think all the freshmen feel like they belong, all the JV and freshman team members feel like they belong, and to me that’s the most important thing for the program for the years to come. Not my year, but all the years.”

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