Most of the players that played key roles in getting the Rossview Lady Hawks into the 2022 state tournament are gone and graduated.
But not all of them.
In fact, the two players who played significant minutes that are back in the red and gold this season form one of the most formidable duos in the city: senior guard Aubrey Padgett and junior forward Torri James.
Padgett is a sharpshooter. In the Lady Hawks’ 59-37 win over West Creek on Tuesday, Jan. 24, she made seven 3-pointers despite playing limited minutes in the second half. Head coach Clay Head calls her “steady” and a great leader.
James added 20 points of her own in the win, with 16 coming in the first quarter. Her unique blend of size and athleticism is a problem for high schoolers, especially on the boards and on defense. There’s a reason she has Division I offers in basketball and volleyball along with a second-place finish in the state high jump as a freshman.
The two players form a combo that’s a nightmare for opposing teams.
“I think last year, we really connected,” Padgett said. “And we played AAU together over the summer. We’ve just really grown to trust each other in that post-guard relationship. She trusts that I’ll hit that shot, and I trust that she’ll get that rebound or she’ll finish on the other end. I think it’s a good dynamic.”
Padgett said her teammate’s presence down low makes her more comfortable shooting – a dangerous prospect for defenses to deal with.
Both players come from sports families. Aubrey’s dad, Duane, is an assistant coach for the Lady Hawks. Torri’s stepdad, Gerald Harrison, is the Director of Athletics at Austin Peay.
“Aubrey brings leadership,” Head said. “She’s mature. Great positive attitude. She’s also the daughter of coaches, so she knows the game really well. Torri is much looser. She competes really, really hard on the floor, but she’s not quite as talkative as Aubrey. They kind of work hand-in-hand where one leads a little more vocally, and the other, she leads by her actions on the floor.”
The two have become closer as friends, too. That bond is especially important, not just as high schoolers in general, but because it’s a guard’s duty to find her forward in the post, or for a forward to help create opportunities for her guard.
“I think that we’re not only good on the court, but off the court,” Padgett said. “We’re friends, we talk to each other, we text. We’re just friends. And I think that plays a key role on the court because we trust each other. No matter what’s going on, we have each other’s backs.”
Their leadership on and off the floor have made it so they didn’t miss a beat since their dominant 27-4 season last year. Despite graduating most of their rotation, they sit at 17-4 with an unscathed district mark halfway through the slate. They’re on an eight-game winning streak, which includes wins over Clarksville High and 2A contender Cheatham County.
And, of course, a lot of that has to do with their dynamic duo.
“We know we can rely on them to make things tough on other teams,” Head said. “For us, when we need a bucket, we know where to go. And I think the girls all recognize that. And they know. Having an inside-outside punch there definitely makes it tougher.”
Rossview (59): Aubrey Padgett 23, Torri James 20, Madisyn Thomason 8, Ellie Hankemeier 2, Alayah Smith 2, Ailoni Davis 2, Sarah Mayes 1, Jai Jordan 1.
West Creek (37): Madziyonna Calloway 21, Lyseadra Rodriguez 8, Sarena Bassham 4, Ariana Johnson 2, Ariy Denson 1, Alshia Audate 1.