The energy level of Valparaiso junior Laura Ferrari appears to be endless.
The 5-foot 4 guard is even so happy to be up early in the morning, she beams at daily before-school free throw shooting sessions.
"It's such a good experience that I'm willing to wake up at 5 a.m.," Ferrari said. "I just love it."
In her first full season on varsity, Ferrari has provided a spark for the Vikings (5-6), which lost several key starters due to graduation.
She's averaging 7.6 points, which includes four double-digit games and a career-high 14 against Times No. 2 Crown Point on Dec. 14. On defense, she generally alternates with senior Ariana Paul on the opponent's top offensive player.
"The entire team thrives off her energy," Valparaiso coach Jeanette Gray said of Ferrari. "She's more excited for the game at 7:05 a.m. than I am. I worry that she won't be able to carry over the energy, but it's up there each night."
The source for this extended high-octane effort comes from Ferrari's sense of enjoyment for her surroundings.
"All of these girls are my best friends," said Ferrari, who also plays volleyball. "Coach Gray makes things so comfortable. I just look forward to showing up to each practice. It never lets down. It's always a pleasure to be there."
Gray loves having Ferrari on the court. Initially, Gray was impressed with the guard's defensive play. In time, the Valpo alum is pleased with her overall game.
"She's just so quick and smart; she just wants to be the best defender on the court," Gray said. "I think she just loves to beat people.
"When you're entrusted to do something, your confidence to get things done carries over on both sides of the court."
After spending a few minutes on varsity a season ago, Ferrari spent a great deal of time preparing to make a bigger splash as a junior.
"It's just about having confidence in yourself," Ferrari said. "I spent a lot of off time at the YMCA working on my shot. When tryouts came, I knew this is where I wanted to be."
She then opened her season with 11 in the Vikings' win over Kankakee Valley.
"That really boosted my confidence," she said. "I feel like it grows every day."
As she's earned more time on the court, Ferrari has remained focused. She doesn't get hung up on her numbers.
"I just don't walk into a game and say that I've got to score this many points," she said. "I also don't really think about defending the other team's best player.
"I try not to let anything surprise me. I just do what I can to try to improve."