AYER — Ask any basketball coach what the most important position on the floor is and you will usually get the same answer – point guard. It is easy to tell the coaches without a true point guard by the top of their heads. That hair is either graying rapidly or falling out.
Ayer girls basketball coach Joe Scunziano is quite content with both his hair and his point guard. Junior Katie Poitras brings a quiet proficiency to the position without a lot of flash. She becomes more impressive with multiple viewings as the realization of the consistency, poise and leadership she exhibits becomes more apparent.
Poitras, now in her third varsity season, has been a key cog in the building Ayer girls basketball program. The Lady Panthers are blessed with an unusual combination, youthful experience, and are primed to continue their move forward. The team’s skill level and talent continues to improve, providing more options and depth, and Poitras provides the steady hand to direct that improving talent.
Poitras is an old school point guard, who thinks ballhandling, distribution and defense before shot. Any offense she provides the team is a bonus and is secondary to being the Lady Panthers’ floor general. She has an improved shot, which can be a weapon, but she has the ability to affect the result of a game without taking a shot.
“Katie is the heart of the team,” said Scunziano. “She runs our offense and recognizes what the opposition is playing defensively and makes the adjustments. She knows our playbook inside and out.
“Her number one priority is to run the offense,” added Scunziano. “But she provides a big bonus with her defense. She has great speed and quickness and she leads the team in both steals and deflections. She has very quick and active hands and she anticipates well. But most importantly she understands the importance of playing defense and works hard all the time.”
The Lady Panthers are off to a 3-1 start and with a lot of familiar faces back they are looking to make a District run in the 2009-10 season. Poitras is a large part of that goal as a leader both offensively and defensively. In Ayer’s most recent win, a 57-35 thrashing of Narragansett, Katie once again did a little bit of everything. She took only five shots, but hit three of them, adding a free throw for seven economical points. She grabbed three rebounds and made a team-leading seven steals, part of a Lady Panther defense that frustrated the Warriors and allowed only five first half points. The difference in the game was apparent. While Narragansett fell out of the game with helter-skelter play, Ayer pulled away with a cohesive offense under the guidance of Poitras.
“Katie played a great all-around game against Narragansett,” said Scunziano. “It might have been the best all-around game she has played. She made numerous steals, ran the offense and was instrumental in getting our transition game going.”
Katie is well-liked by her teammates and coaches for the quiet way she goes about her business.
“The rest of the team follows Katie and trusts her decisions,” said Scunziano. “She sees the floor well both offensively and defensively. She has the ability to make the players around her better. She is underappreciated and is a great kid. She has a great attitude is positive all the time and is a very good student.”
The Lady Panthers continue to improve and the goal is to make some noise in post-season play. But that noise won’t happen without the contributions of the quietest leader, Katie Poitras, who continues to make her point in so many meaningful ways.