NORTH AUGUSTA — Jared Adamson recognizes potential.
So when the North Augusta girls basketball coach noticed Mallory Stone’s athleticism and length, he knew he had to put her on the varsity team – even as a freshman.
Stone reminded Adamson of Kayla West, who graduated in 2011 and now plays for Texas Southern.
“I know what potential girls have because I was blessed to have (West),” Adamson said. “When I saw Mallory as a freshman, I remember telling my wife, ‘She’ll probably be better than Kayla if she works hard.’ Her future is bright.”
Stone saw a decent amount of action as a freshman before increasing her role this year.
By averaging 12.6 points, 6.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.4 steals this season, Stone is The Augusta Chronicle’s South Carolina girls basketball player of the year.
She was a major reason why North Augusta posted another solid season, going 18-6 before losing a close game to Summerville in the first round of the Class AAAA state playoffs.
The sophomore didn’t shy away from the bigger role and expectations, using her defense to jump start the offense.
Besides serving as one of the top pieces of the press, Stone was often asked to guard the other teams' best players.
On offense, she was initially most successful scoring on putbacks and in transition. But as the season continued, she improved her game, capable of stretching out the defense as she hit 3-pointers.
“I knew I was going to have a pretty big role this year, as a sophomore,” Stone said. “I knew I had to step up because (West) was gone. I just made it happen, I guess.”
The biggest thing Adamson wants to see Stone do is make her teammates better.
She’s already become a vocal leader and a leader through action. Adamson also expects Stone to keep working, not wanting her to get content with where she’s at.
“She’s everywhere,” Adamson said. “You can’t teach heart. You can’t teach effort. And I think she has that internal fire in her belly.”