Originally created 03/06/02

Swainsboro guard leads on and off court



Shayla Roberts is in the middle of a conversation, and the people around here are being nosy and trying to listen in. So Roberts does what she does best: she takes charge, she moves people around, she becomes a leader.

Roberts, a junior guard for Swainsboro, takes the arm of the person with whom she's conversing and leads him down the hall, so they can talk in peace.

By her actions, she lets everybody within earshot know one thing: if Roberts doesn't like the way things are progressing, she'll do everything in her power to change it.

If her shots aren't falling early in the contest, she makes sure she's throwing up bulls-eyes when the game is on the line. If her conversation is being heard by too many people, she makes sure, one way or the other, they can't hear what she says.}

Shayla Roberts always does what she does best: she takes charge, she becomes a leader.}

By her actions, Swainsboro's Shayla Roberts lets everybody know one thing: If she doesn't like something, she'll do everything in her power to change it.the junior guard's shots aren't falling early in a contest, she makes sure she's shooting bulls-eyes when the game is on the line.

If her conversation is attracting too much attention, she makes sure, one way or the other, they can't hear what she says.}

According to Lady Tigers coach Bobby Andrews Lady Tigers will face Fannin County at 11:30 a.m. today in the Georgia Class AAA Final Four at the Macon Centreplex}, that's the same attitude the junior guard takes on the basketball court.

"Everybody's putting double teams on her or throwing a box-and-one defense on her," said Andrews, whose squad will face Fannin County at 11:30 a.m. today in the Georgia Class AAA semifinals at the Macon Centreplex.

"But she fights through it. We still try to get it to her on the wing, and then we let her take it from there."

It's worked this season for the 30-2 Lady Tigers. Roberts leads the team by averaging about 18 points per game, but what really makes her proud is her rebounding.

It showed against Laney in the state quarterfinals. Although Roberts only hit one of her first seven shots as Swainsboro fell behind, she helped the Lady Tigers by pulling down eight rebounds.

"I just like to go in there and rebound, which is what I didn't do last year," Roberts said. "I know guards aren't supposed to go down there, but if I see the ball, I'm going for it. Last year, I think I might have been too scared to do that."

The 5-foot-7 Roberts' ability to overcome her fears of colliding with bigger players has helped senior center Nikki Robinson.

"I can't explain what she does for our team," Robinson said. "She has been just a big, big contributor for us. She takes a lot of pressure off me, and we use each other to get the other one free. I'm always looking for her."

So does the rest of the team. Even when Roberts connects on only two of her first 14 attempts and scores just five first-half points - like she did against Dodge County in a second-round game - Roberts needs only eight minutes to get back on track.

With her team down 28-18 entering the fourth quarter last week against the Squaws, Roberts scored nine of her team-high 13 points in the final period - including the game-winning layup with 12 seconds left - to help her team advance.

For Roberts, it was microcosm of her season - and her attitude in life.

"That was real hard," Roberts said. "We're not used to being down like that. So, we did what we had to do - we had to fight real hard to get back."

Reach Josh Katzowitz at (706) 823-3216 or josh.katzowitz@augustachronicle.com.