STEVE HANLON: It doesn't take a star to shine

2014-01-01T20:00:00Z 2014-01-02T00:51:08Z STEVE HANLON: It doesn't take a star to shineSteve Hanlon Prep Beat nwitimes.com
January 01, 2014 8:00 pm  • 

HAMMOND | The lights were on, bright and burning. Some emotion and star-gazing filled the fans at the Hammond Civic Center on Wednesday.

The weather-challenged crowd came to see Logansport's Whitney Jennings and West Side's Amari Ferguson, DeJah Joshua and Dana Evans.

The Times Region Roundball Rumble, No. 15 during a snowstorm, was overshadowed by a player no one outside of Gary probably knew much about.

With 3:24 left in the second quarter, West Side coach Rod Fisher hugged junior “forward” Lexus Fox. He'd spent much of this season yelling at the 5-foot-6 role player.

“That was shocking,” Fox said of the hug. “He yells at me a lot. But I love him. He's a great coach.”

Fox had five points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals at the time of the embrace. Her unnoticed energy helped the Cougars jump out to a 31-22 halftime lead over the Class 4A No. 6 Berries.

It was Fisher dancing at midcourt after Joshua nailed a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to give West Side a 52-51 win.

“That was the best half Lexus has ever played,” Fisher said.

The problem is this. Last year she was a perimeter player, a 3-point shooter. Then all the height graduated, and a new guard, Dana Evans, took minutes away from another “guard.”

So Fox was asked to be a power forward. A, well, garbage player.

“I didn't like that,” Fox said. “At first, anyway. But I'll be Dennis Rodman. I'll be a garbage man, garbage girl.”

She said nothing about being an ambassador to North Korea, but she's OK with her new position on a team that sent a message to the state of Indiana.

That has Fisher dancing on the track in the underbelly of the Civic Center.

“She's been complaining to me all year,” Fisher said.

She whined about playing time, Fisher said. She complained about where she was on the floor. She cried about being in the post.

Kids, playing time and doing what the coach asks go together. Don't ask mom and dad or you AAU coach about such things. This is not new math.

“I've told her, no one can stop you in the paint,” Fisher said. “No one. If she plays all the time like she did the first half, she'll be begging me to be taken out of the game.”

West Side outrebounded the Berries 42-21. That changes the win column. Fox had nine rebounds.

Fox gets made fun of by her teammates because of her musical taste. She likes, “Pop,” she said. Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus. French fries are her favorite food. Her fave color is red.

Now, though, shooting the 3 is staying in the locker room. Bruises, scrapes and hugs from the coach are in the future.

“This win was so big to me,” Fox said. “When she hit that 3, I just knew we could do anything.”

Yes, these Cougars can. But they need to follow Fox's lead. The little things matter. Big time.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at steve.hanlon@nwi.com.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Follow The Times

Fan Poll

Loading…

Which school has the area's best girls tennis team?

View Results

Follow your school

Duneland Conference

Chesterton Trojans
News
Crown Point Bulldogs
News
Lake Central Indians
News
LaPorte Slicers
News
Merrillville Pirates
News
Michigan City Wolves
News
Portage Indians
News
Valparaiso Vikings
News

Greater South Shore Conference

Bishop Noll Warriors
News
Calumet Warriors
News
Lake Station Eagles
News
Michigan City Marquette Blazers
News
North Newton Spartans
News
River Forest Ingots
News
Wheeler Bearcats
News
Whiting Oilers
News

Great Lakes Athletic Conference

Clark Pioneers
News
Gavit Gladiators
News
Hammond Wildcats
News
Morton Governors
News

Hoosier Conference

Rensselaer Bombers
News

Northwest Crossroads Conference

Andrean 59ers
News
Griffith Panthers
News
Highland Trojans
News
Hobart Brickies
News
Kankakee Valley Kougars
News
Lowell Red Devils
News
Munster Mustangs
News

Northwestern Conference

Lew Wallace Hornets
News
Roosevelt Panthers
News
West Side Cougars
News

Porter County Conference

Boone Grove Wolves
News
Hanover Central Wildcats
News
Hebron Hawks
News
Kouts Mustangs/Fillies
News
LaCrosse Tigers
News
Morgan Twp. Cherokees
News
South Central Satellites
News
Washington Twp. Senators
News
Westville Blackhawks
News

Independents

Bowman Academy Eagles
News
Calumet Christian
News
Campagna Academy
News
Covenant Christian Knights
News
E.C. Central Cardinals
News
Hammond Baptist Swordsman
News
Luther East Eagles
News

Chicago Catholic League

Mt. Carmel Caravan
News
Seton Academy Sting
News
St. Francis deSales Pioneers
News

Chicago Public League

Washington Minutemen/Minutewomen
News

East Suburban Catholic

Marian Catholic Spartans
News

Metro Suburban

Illiana Christian Vikings
News

River Valley Conference

Beecher Bobcats/Ladycats
News
Illinios Lutheran Chargers
News

South Suburban Blue

T.F. North Meteors
News
T.F. South Rebels
News

Southland Athletic Conference

Bloom Twp. Blazin' Trojans
News
Crete-Monee Warriors
News

SouthWest Suburban Blue

Homewood-Flossmoor Vikings
News

SouthWest Suburban Red

Thornridge Falcons
News
Thornton Wildcats
News
Thornwood Thunderbirds
News

Featured Businesses