Making an impact: Freshman leads Lady Eagles

By Reece Waddell | Published Saturday, January 26, 2019
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Leading rival Bridgeport by six points late in the third quarter last Tuesday, Decatur’s Grace Lowery calmly brought the ball up the floor.

UP AND IN – Decatur’s Grace Lowery goes around a Bowie defender for a layup during a win earlier this season. The freshman is averaging 13 points and 5.8 rebounds per game to lead the Lady Eagles. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

As she drove the lane, she was greeted by two Bridgeport defenders. In one swift motion, the freshman jump-stopped, pivoted and split both defenders before effortlessly laying the ball off the glass.

“My dad told me God blessed me with athleticism,” Lowery said. “When you’re able to create for yourself, you’re able to create for your teammates, too.”

Lowery finished with a game-high 18 points against the Sissies to lead Decatur to its first win over Bridgeport since 2017.

“Offensively, she just kind of has a knack for the game,” said Decatur coach Lindsay Griffin. “That’s what’s most apparent to people who come and watch us.”

In her first season with the Lady Eagles, Lowery leads the team in scoring. She is averaging 13 points and 5.8 rebounds. Through five district games, Lowery has averaged 19.6 points, helping Decatur to a 22-6 record and 3-2 league mark.

Looking back on her performances, Lowery conceded she did not expect to play as well as she has.

“At the beginning of the season, I just wanted to do my best,” Lowery said. “I didn’t think I would make this big of an impact, but I wanted to make as big of an impact as I could.”

Griffin knew right away Lowery had immense potential.

“It was an easy decision [to put her on varsity],” Griffin said. “I knew she was talented in eighth grade. As a freshman, it’s hard to play on the varsity level, period. She played with us in the spring and summer and really just kept getting better.”

Lowery has quickly become a staple in Decatur’s offense.

Her ability to create separation and her own shot is a main reason the Lady Eagles’ scoring average has increased this season from 40 points per game last season to 47 this year.

“Having someone who understands the game enough to be able to create opens up so much for us,” Griffin said. “We’re not having to rely on a set play as much. It opens up a lot for us that we haven’t had in the past.”

“There are definitely things good players have that you just can’t coach. Like I said earlier, she has a knack for the game. That makes it so much easier for us as a team.”

One area of Lowery’s game she is constantly trying to improve is her outside shooting. Griffin said when she first began working with her, Lowery would not even take a perimeter jump shot.

“Shooting takes a lot of practice,” Lowery said. “It’s repetition. My dad is always talking to me about my form, before school and after school. Coach Griffin requires us to shoot 15,000 shots over the summer.”

With Decatur battling for playoff positioning, Lowery’s focus is on helping the team any way she can. But for Griffin, she knows the next three years with a player of Lowery’s caliber will be special.

“My hope is she continues to grow as a player,” Griffin said. “It’s exciting to have someone who can play at such a high level that’s so young.”

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