February 23, 2014

Flipping a serious switch

Lady Bruins senior leads in many ways

TUNNEL HILL — Sometimes Macy Weeks will joke with Northwest Whitfield girls basketball coach Greg Brown that she wants to shoot 3-pointers and play point guard.

When the clock starts, though, the post player is all serious.

“You came to do a job,” she said. “You came to win. That’s it.”

The senior calls herself extremely “competitive,” her coach calls her extremely “aggressive” and her opponents probably call her extremely difficult to deal with. She’s a vital part of the Lady Bruins’ success this season and her playing well will be important as the team prepares for tonight’s Class 4A state tournament game against their second-round opponent, Region 6 champs Redan. The game starts at 6:30 p.m. at Redan High School in Stone Mountain.

It could be driving to the basket and scoring, crashing the boards for rebounds, disrupting opposing teams’ offense in the center of Northwest’s full-court press or passing to perimeter teammates Halle Ford, Kerrigan King and Mallory Souther. Whatever part of the game, Weeks is “the spark” for the Lady Bruins, Brown said.

“When her energy is where it should be, everyone kind of feeds off that,” Brown said. “To me, that’s the biggest thing. She plays as hard as she can for as long as she can, and then we get her out. That’s why she’s one of the first people who subs out, because she expends so much energy when she’s in the game. The reason we’ve been able to get up-tempo this year, play faster and do all the things I’ve dreamed of wanting to do is because of her. She’s the type of player who can set that tempo.”

Weeks will admit she’s highly competitive when it comes to sports on any level, from driveway basketball games to Friday’s 61-48 win in the first round against Carrollton. That’s on the court, from tip off to the final buzzer.

“I’ve always noticed (that side),” Souther said of Weeks. “Since we were little kids and played together.”

Off the court, it’s a 180-degree difference.

“Everyone knows I am a goofy person,” Weeks said. “Sometimes I kid coach Brown, ‘Hey coach, let me shoot some 3s.’ Obviously, I would never shoot any 3s. That’s just me.”

Weeks, who earned the starting post role midway through last year’s run to the state tournament, hasn’t shot a single 3-pointer this season.

That’s because the post player isn’t asked to. She averages 10 points per game, 5.6 rebounds per game and two steals per game as the Lady Bruins’ pivotal part of their press. In a 63-58 win against Murray County in November, she grabbed 11 rebounds to go with eight points.

In a 69-25 win in January against LaFayette, she tallied six steals with her 13 points. In the 53-40 overtime win Tuesday in the Region 7 tournament versus Gilmer, she had a double-double performance with 11 points and 11 rebounds.

On offense, she is the inside presence that makes opposing teams think twice about focusing solely on Ford, the Lady Bruins’ leading scorer, or 3-point shooters like King and Souther. Brown said 5-foot, 7-inch Weeks is a different post player than near-6-footers Peyton Maret and Mary Kate Allen.

“I separate her from Peyton and Mary in that they’re a lot taller but she’s quicker,” Brown said. “All three score in different ways and uses her athleticism and quickness to score over and around bigger people.”

She’s also one of Northwest’s five seniors — with Ford, King and Souther, plus Ashlee Huynh — and a leader, with two state championships rings as the left fielder for the past two Northwest softball teams.

“She’s a lot of fun to be around,” Brown said. “She loves to compete and play and she loves being around her teammates. ... She jokes she’ll be the next point guard and ‘If Halle gets hurt, I can run the point.’

“That’s just her. She has a big personality and the kids love it and love being around her.”

There are many ways to be a leader. Weeks’ fun-loving, off-the-court personality is one of the ways. She also can get serious outside of games, too, and did so leading to tonight’s matchup. Redan is undefeated through 29 games this season and the No. 1-ranked team in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Class 4A rankings. Northwest, the runner-up in Region 7, is 24-4.

Weeks’ message to her teammates: Why not us?

“This is what I was telling the seniors earlier,” Weeks said. “This doesn’t need to be it. Just because they are No. 1 doesn’t mean they can’t be beat. Why can’t we go out there and beat them? We have to believe in ourselves and we can’t go in defeated. If we go in defeated, then it can get ugly. Obviously, they are a good basketball team — they are No. 1 — but we’ve shocked people before.”

Brown echoed those thoughts, saying the Lady Bruins know they “belong” in the group of 16 teams still vying for a Class 4A title.

“I told them, ‘This isn’t Hoosiers,’” Brown said. “We’re going down there with full belief like we have all year that we can get the job done. ... We’re going to go down there and do the very best we can and try and take advantage of this opportunity we have.”

This is the first time Northwest has reached the second round of the state postseason since the 2010 season and the first time for anyone on the current roster. Last year, the Lady Bruins lost in the first round to Marist.

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