Kaitlin Doud's early solutions to problems on the basketball court meant a hasty retreat to her mother Wendy and a reluctance to re-visit a drive to the lane.
"I'd get pushed down, bleed and go to my mom every time," Doud recalls of games with older brother Trent and his friends. "I wouldn't want to drive then."
Now in her second season as a starter for Portage's varsity girls basketball team, the 5-foot-10 sophomore forward takes matters into her own hands when adverse situations arise.
"I cannot let other people control my destiny," Doud said. "You've got to make your own future and go out and achieve what you want."
The future is now for Doud.
As a freshman, she started her first varsity game and finished the season as the team's second-leading scorer (7 ppg).
Once again, she's the team's second-leading scorer, but now she's averaging in double digits (10.3 ppg).
In seven games for the Times No. 6 Indians (5-2), she's scored in double figures six times. Doud is also averaging five rebounds per game.
"She's a very competitive person," Portage coach Chris Seibert said. "She got a taste of it last year, but now she's taking the next step to being one of the better players in the area -- definitely one of our better players."
Doud said she worked extremely hard before her freshman year, understanding the impending leap from middle school to varsity ball. This past offseason, she admits to ratcheting up her training regimen even more.
"I felt like I learned what I needed to work on by playing last year," Doud said. "I just didn't know what to expect coming in as a freshman. This offseason, I continued to work on my strengths, but also focused on my weaknesses and turned some into strengths."
Doud's tireless dedication to improve on defense has helped with her footwork. Seibert believes she's one of the team's best defenders now.
Doud's versatility from beyond the arc or in the paint gives the Indians a true second scoring option to senior Nicki Monahan, who also started as a freshman.
"Nicki knows the kind of growing pains Kaitlin went through," Seibert said, "and they've been able to feed off each other."
Monahan injured her ankle in the first quarter against Valparaiso last Friday, sitting out the rest of the period. Doud scored nine of her 11 points in the period, playing a crucial part in the 40-36 win.
"She's a very intelligent kid; mature beyond her years," Seibert said. "She picks her spots when she needs to take over."