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Senior spotlight: Familiarity helps ACCS seniors lead

Adams County Christian School seniors Abby Givens, left, and Nikki Worthey talk during a break in Thursday’s game against Hillcrest Christian School. (Lauren Wood \ The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — When looking for leadership, teams might prefer a large group of seniors with many different voices.

But the Adams County Christian School girls basketball team is relying on a quality-over-quantity approach this winter.

Guard Abby Givens and center Nikki Worthey are the Lady Rebels’ lone seniors, and both are relied on heavily for their leadership and experience. A tough job, but Givens said she actually prefers a small group of upperclassmen.

“We started out with a bunch of seniors, but then a bunch of people either quit or moved,” Givens said. “In some ways it’s easier, because there’s not as much bickering and stuff.”

Givens also said she realizes a smaller group means there’s more pressure on the ones who are playing.

“Sometimes you have to step up more, knowing there’s just two leaders rather than five,” Givens said. “But everyone on the team has been playing together for a while, so it’s not too bad.”

For Givens and Worthey, that camaraderie goes back a long way, as the girls have played basketball together for a long time — along with softball and track.

“The things we know from previous years and sports, it just brings us closer,” Worthey said.

ACCS’s Abby Givens looks to pass against Hillcrest Christian School’s Jesse Bingham during Thursday’s game. (Lauren Wood \ The Natchez Democrat)

Givens said there’s a definite comfort level having someone else that’s been a teammate for as long as she can remember.

“Sometimes when you’re on the court, you feel like you’re left out there alone,” Givens said. “When you know someone else’s strengths and weaknesses, it’s easier for them to play with you.

“If I’m playing guard and she’s posting up, I know there’s a certain way she’s going to get to the ball.”

Worthey said being Givens’ teammate has a lot of advantages.

“She’s a good teammate,” Worthey said. “We communicate well, and we try to keep everyone intact. She’s good at shooting and ball-handling, blocking out and defense (in general).”

ACCS girls head coach Melanie Hall said the camaraderie shared by her two seniors goes a long way on the court and off it.

“The chemistry and knowledge, just getting to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and being able to feed off that is huge,” Hall said.

“Anytime you have players that play together for so long, I feel like it’s a big advantage. I’m just blessed to have them and be able to work with these young ladies.”

But maybe there is a such thing as too much togetherness. Worthey and Givens both received concussions this season, and both missed games to recover. Worthey returned to the court in mid-November, but Givens has only recently rejoined the team after missing several weeks.

ACCS's Nikki Worthey looks for a shot against Hillcrest Christian School’s Scottilyn Lloyd during Thursday’s game. (Lauren Wood \ The Natchez Democrat)

Even though she wasn’t out long, Worthey said she hating watching the team play without her.

“I feel like if we lose a game, I could have helped them if I had gone out there,” Worthey said. “If we win a game, I feel like it could’ve been even better, that I could have had some kind of effect.”

Givens said she’s had concussions in the past but has never had to sit out for several weeks.

“I don’t know (how I cope),” Givens said. “I feel like I’m missing out on so much.”

With this being her final season, Givens said she doesn’t like the idea of not having a sport to play after she graduates.

“I’m going to be so lost next year, because this is all I’ve ever known,” Givens said.

Worthey, meanwhile, is just counting it a blessing every time she gets to take the court.

“It’s bittersweet,” Worthey said. “You know it’s about to be over, but you’ve put your heart into it for the last five years (since eighth grade), so there’s nothing left for you to do.”

Worthey is the daughter of Blaney and James Worthey. Givens is the daughter of Ann and Buddy Givens.