The Player-a-Day Countdown is back for a very important encore.
Even though the Sandpoint girls basketball season is over, it’d be remiss if one of the team’s most important, behind-the-scenes leaders was excluded.
The countdown resumes one last time to honor senior Lily Anderson.
When writing these “Player-a-Day” countdown articles, it’s easy to point out specific attributes of players’ skill sets, recall some memorable moments and describe how they’ve impacted Sandpoint’s basketball team.
I wanted to do the same for senior Lily Anderson, but so much of her impact as a player has happened when no one was looking. In a sports-writing context, one would call this “having the intangibles.”
In a much more important context than sports, one would call this integrity.
And although a characteristic like integrity is harder to pin down than throwing some basketball terms together on a page, it’s still important to put what Anderson did this season into words. The most important things in life are often difficult to put into words, but that doesn’t mean one shouldn’t try doing so.
Anderson’s character shone through thick and thin. If there was a hint as to what she endured this season, look no further than her black, wrist brace.
Throughout the season, Anderson played with a wrist injury that Sandpoint head coach Will Love says “would’ve put most players out for the season.”
Despite the pain, Anderson showed up to every practice and suited up for every game, ready to play when the coaches called her name.
She answered the call right away: Anderson scored two points and grabbed ten rebounds against Kellogg in the first game of the season.
Even though the pain returned and minutes became hard to come by, Anderson persevered.
In true storybook fashion, Anderson’s best performance was on her senior night against Priest River on Jan. 26. She got her first start of the season, grabbed five boards and dished out two assists. Her perseverance paid off.
As someone who suffered a season-ending injury as a senior, then proceeded to mope, skip practices (despite being a captain) and treat a trip to the state cross-country race like a paid vacation, I already know Anderson has stronger resolve than I ever had or ever will.
For that, she has my utmost respect. She should have yours too.
Game of note: vs. Priest River
In Will Love’s words: “Lily was such an inspiration for our team. Between her work ethic, selflessness and team-first attitude, Lily was a tremendous leader for us. She improved so much as a basketball player in her two years in the program, she will be missed.”