YELLOW SPRINGS — At the age of four, Angie Smith watched her older sister, Elizabeth, practice shooting a basketball in the backyard. Occasionally, Smith would join in and play with her sister. She would try to dribble around Elizabeth and shoot over her.
“The first time, I remember I spent hours trying to score on her and I finally got one to go in with a granny shot which made me so happy,” Smith said. “My interest in basketball started because of my sister.”
Smith continued to follow in her sister’s footsteps playing basketball in middle school, AAU, and now high school. Elizabeth led the Yellow Springs Bulldogs in scoring all four years of high school from 2014-2017.
This year, Angie took up the mantle and led Yellow Springs and the whole Metro Buckeye Conference with 514 points (24.5 points per game) as a freshman.
“It was cool and surprising for me, because I watched my sister do all these things before me and I did not think I could do that,” Smith said.
Smith was able to achieve this partially because of her ability to get to the free-throw line. Smith finished the season ranked 14th in Ohio girls high school basketball history in free throws made with 190. She averaged just under 14 free throw attempts per game.
“I am faster than I thought,” Smith said. “Coaches told me I could take people off the dribble more often and I never really believed them until this year.”
Yellow Springs’ coach Tim Minnich said his style of offense often encourages contact with defenses.
“We like to drive to the rim and make contact to force the officials to make a call,” Minnich said. “Her ball handling skills is probably her greatest asset, because that’s what gets her the open shots and draws the fouls.”
Minnich said Smith changed Yellow Springs’ whole team dynamic. He said Smith was never scared to take on responsibility, and the team was able to greatly cut down on their turnovers with Smith becoming the primary ball handler.
“It is kind of a burden, but it’s also pretty cool,” Smith said, “because as I am coming down the court, I can look and see I have the power do this or I can choose to do something else.”
She helped run the offense and became a leader on the team.
“She is always encouraging our other players,” Minnich said. “She’s not very loud vocally, but she is always very positive and uplifting to every player on this team.”
The team selected Smith to be one of their two captains, because of the example she showed on the court and the encouragement she gave off it.
Smith said she has a few goals for next year in mind. She wants to raise her free throw percentage from 66.4 percent (190 of 286) to 80 percent and to score another 500 points to reach the 1,000 point milestone. She would also like to help get some of her teammates more involved, with better passing and to improve on the team’s 11-12 record and third-place finish in the conference this year.
Minnich said Smith has a unique drive and desire that helps her to succeed and continue to improve. He said no one works harder and he would not be surprised to see her reach her goals next year.
“You get out of the drills what you put in,” Minnich said. “Angie is putting in max effort every time, which will lead to improvement.”