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Cross and Ogden leading Lady Saints

NATCHEZ — Depending on which kind of shot the Trinity Episcopal varsity girls want to take, the ball is usually going to one of two people.

Madelyn Cross is the go-to girl if the Lady Saints want an inside shot. If they want some points from downtown, Bethany Ogden is ready to deliver.

Cross, a senior, and Ogden, a junior, started playing basketball together at Trinity in middle school. Now, as the Lady Saints are pursuing a state championship in MAIS Class A, Cross and Ogden are definitely the ones the rest of the team look to for leadership, head coach Richy Spears said.

“They’re definitely leaders,” Ogden said. “They’re quiet leaders — they let their play do the talking.”

And it helps that both girls quickly jumped on board with Spears’ coaching style when he arrived at Trinity three years ago, he said.

“They’re a joy to coach,” Spears said. “They love to play, and they love the game. That’s most of what you have to have, love for the game.

“They’re very coachable. They bought in the first day I was here. Early in the morning in the summertime, they showed up, ready to do whatever was going on.”

Although Cross’s biggest strength is her inside game, she said she’s not limited to just driving to the basket.

“I just do everything I can to help us get a win,” Cross said. “If it means pass the ball, shoot outside or take it to the hole, it just depends on what we need that night.

“I’m a little iffy about shooting outside, but if you have an open shot, you have to do what you have to do.”

Shooting outside is something Ogden has always done, she said, ever since she was in junior high. Even though her teammates depend on that part of her game a lot, she said she doesn’t let the pressure get to her.

“I don’t feel a lot of pressure, because I know if I miss it, my teammates aren’t going to get mad,” Ogden said. “They’ll either get the rebound or be happy with me if I make it.”

Like Cross, Ogden said she can be versatile offensively, but there are definitely defined roles for the two.

“(I’ll drive to the basket) if there’s an opening,” Ogden said. “Most of the time I’m outside and Madelyn’s inside, but if there’s an opening, I do my best.”

For both players, leadership extends beyond the basketball court. Cross said making smart decisions is the best way to set an example for the younger players on the team.

“When it comes to school, you don’t blow it off,” Cross said. “You stick to the books, not just your extracurricular (activities).

“Communication is also a key. I try to see how everyone’s doing. If someone looks down, I try my best to do what I can to cheer them up.”

Ogden said she also realizes her role in setting an example on and off the court.

“Whether we’re at practice, in a game or even at school, if they come to me and say they don’t know about certain plays, I try to explain it to them,” Ogden said. “I definitely feel like they look up to me, and I try to talk to them if they need to ask questions.”

With Cross graduating after this season, Ogden said there’s going to be even more of a need to show leadership.

“I feel like it will bring more pressure to me to step up and be a bigger leader on and off the court,” she said. “I know they’ll look to me on the court even more to get the job done.”

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