POTW: Valissa Sams

Published 10:42 pm Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Valissa Sams loves defense. There is no other way to look at it. That fact was evident as the Demopolis senior guard ran up and down the floor last Thursday night, putting forth her best effort to lock down Sunshine High’s all-around scoring threat, Shafontaye Myers.

The game pitted the two best female players in the Black Belt region against one another. While they are similar in approach and demeanor, the clash was a contrast of styles that matched the offensive prowess of Myers against the defensive tenacity of Sams.

“At any point in any game, it’s easier to score than play defense,” Sams says of her fondness for frustrating offensive players. “If you’re capable of stopping somebody, it makes a big difference in the game.”

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Sams proved beyond any doubt Thursday night that she is capable of stopping somebody. Sams lived in Myers’ personal bubble all night, frustrating the junior guard and allowing virtually no uncontested shots.

The sequence became as common in the game as the dribble of the ball. Demopolis put points on the scoreboard, four DHS players retreated to the defensive end and Myers went to inbound the ball. A smiling Valissa Sams greeted her from the moment she crossed the inline and remained between Myers and the basket until the change of possession.

By night’s end, it was Sams’ defensive intensity that won out, limiting one of the state’s most prolific scorers to 10 points. And just for good measure, Sams showed that she is multi-dimensional as she poured in 18 points of her own to lead all scorers.

Demopolis head coach Tony Pittman has repeatedly called Sams the heart of the team. On senior night, it was Sams’ heart that led her team to the win.