December 12, 2013

NW’s Miss Versatility

Well-rounded Souther stepping up her game

By Devin Golden

— Mallory Souther was sick Tuesday and didn’t score in the Northwest Whitfield High School girls basketball team’s win against Rome.

Illness has been the only thing keeping the senior from scoring in bunches this season.

Souther didn’t take long to make herself known as one of Northwest’s top scoring options — leading the Lady Bruins with 23 points in a season-opening 73-39 win against Model last month in the Rome Thanksgiving Classic — and despite Tuesday’s game still averages 11.43 points per game, a little shy of team-leader Halle Ford’s 12 points per contest.

A forward, Souther entered Tuesday’s game averaging 13.3 points — the most for the Lady Bruins — and is a worthy replacement to Autumn Blackwell, who graduated after averaging 12 points per game as a senior and making The Daily Citizen’s All-Area 2012-2013 team.

“She’s averaging more right now than Autumn had all last year,” Northwest coach Greg Brown said after Saturday’s win versus East Ridge (Tenn.). “She had stepped right into that role. She can’t do some of the things Autumn could do, but she scores points in other ways.”

Souther was one of the main substitutes last season but now is an every-game starter for the Lady Bruins, who are doing quite well leaning on Souther.

Northwest has a 6-1 record this season and has a four-game winning streak.

Souther put it simply: She shoots when she’s open.

“Sometimes the shots go in,” she said, “and sometimes they don’t.”

It may not be as easy as Souther makes it seem, but she has been fairly consistent in tallying double-digit scoring outputs.

She scored just five points in the first win versus Rome but scored 12 versus Marietta, 19 against Murray County, 11 against Cass and 10 versus East Ridge.

One thing she believes has improved in her game is being aggressive and driving to the basket instead of settling for a jump shot. Another is having confidence in her shooting technique.

“That’s bad with me,” she said. “I change my shot’s technique. When I see someone shooting, I try to make my shot like theirs. That’s the way I used to be. I’m trying to keep it the same.”

Succeeding on the basketball court isn’t farfetched considering her success in another sport. Souther enjoyed the last two falls helping Northwest’s softball team to back-to-back Class 4A state championships. She played first base all of 2012, making The Daily Citizen’s All-Area Team at that spot, and spent half of this past year playing first base and the other at third base.

Her softball coach, Jason Brooker, once said of Souther, “She can really play anywhere on the field.”

That’s how she is on the basketball court, too.

Northwest’s offense often centered around Blackwell and she often needed the ball in her hands to be effective. Souther, Brown said, can be effective doing other things besides scoring. That was apparent Tuesday as Souther helped Northwest with five rebounds and four steals. She averages 3.9 rebounds per game and 2.3 steals per game.

Souther praised her teammates for the ball movement that allows her and others to get open shots. Ford, another senior, leads the squad with 5.3 assists per game. Sophomore Madelyn Logan (2.3) and freshman Bria Clemmons (2.1) are the next-highest on the team’s assists chart.

“Mallory feeds off everyone else doing well,” Brown said. “We were laughing one night after a game because Halle had six assists and Mallory had five. We said, ‘They must be passing to each other.’ Mallory does a great job and doesn’t force stuff. She just runs the offense. We’re trying to do some stuff to get her some shots, and she has done a great job knocking them down.”

And she does so with a quiet personality.

“I’m quiet here and there, but sometimes I’m not,” she said. “Most of the time, I’m quiet and laid back. I’m the quiet one out of the group.”

Quiet or loud, opposing defenses haven’t been able to stop the sound of the net swishing when Souther shoots this season.