At least once a game, Thomas S. Wootton High School sophomore guard Sheri Addison gets this look in her eye.
She is a fierce competitor during any given basketball contest, 10th-year Patriots coach Maggie Dyer said, but this one particular look is different. And it is likely to intimidate anyone, except maybe her coach.
“She gets a look in her eye and I know she is going to do whatever it takes,” Dyer said. “She has such a strong passion for the game. Her drive is that she wants to win and wants to do the best for her team. You can watch her play and you see in her eyes at these moments, she is going to do whatever it takes.”
Addison’s talent and work ethic were obvious the first day of tryouts last November, Dyer said. But as one of three freshman starters on a sub-.500 team, the dynamic guard admitted she struggled to find her comfort zone.
She is playing with confidence early this winter and it’s made a world of difference not only in her own performances but the Patriots' overall success as well.
After suffering their first losing season in recent history, Wootton (8-1) is back at the top of Montgomery County basketball and in position to contend for 4A South Division and 4A West Region titles.
The Patriots’ eight wins already exceed last year’s seven-win regular season.
Addison averages a team-best 16.4 points per game. She has scored double digits in seven of the Patriots’ first nine games, including 24 points or more in three of those games.
Addison has led the team in scoring five times but is much more than just a scoring machine. She can play just about every position, Dyer said, and, comfortable controlling the back court, spends some time at point guard.
She is also the team’s best defensive player. Dyer said the feisty sophomore is assigned to opponents’ strongest player. Perhaps most impressively, despite scoring upward of 18 points four times, Addison is in no way a selfish player. She has incredible court vision and awareness, Dyer said, and is adept at finding open players in better scoring position.
What makes this Wootton team special, Dyer and Addison agreed, is its number of capable scoring options.
When Addison doesn’t feel at her best or the shot isn’t there, she doesn’t force it, Dyer said.
She is a smart player and a good split-second decision maker.
“She is so humble, she is definitely not a selfish player. She is getting all these points and people say, ‘Oh she’s doing this.’ She’s not. We kind of feel like whoever has the hot hand, we get the ball to them. For a sophomore to understand that it’s not about individuals, it’s about Wootton ... she’s not out there for herself to have 25 points and lose. That’s what’s going to make a winning program and she understands that. It’s neat to see,” Dyer said.
Last year’s Wootton squad had more new players than returning ones. In an effort to get to know her team better Dyer asked each student-athlete to write down on a piece of paper three personal goals and three team goals.
Addison’s No. 1 individual aspiration, Dyer said, was to obtain an athletic scholarship.
That is a distinct likelihood, Dyer said, given the amount of work Addison puts in during the offseason. In addition to playing AAU basketball with the Germantown Lady Panthers, Addison said she spends a lot of time working on her individual skills in pick-up games against her father and brother.
“I keep that piece of paper tucked away. She plays basketball because she loves it, but she also sees the bigger picture. It’s special and I want to help her get there,” Dyer said.
Last winter was a building year for Addison and the Patriots. It was important to her, she said, to bring back Wootton’s winning tradition. She has certainly played a major role in the team’s resurgence early this winter.
“It’s really good to get off to a good start but I think we will finish out with a good record,” Addison said. “When I see [Dyer] give me a [certain] look, I’m just like, I know I have to do something. That’s when I get [my look].”