By Rick Morwick
Whether her shots fall or not, Kylie Storm lends three essentials to the Center Grove girls basketball team: Defense, energy and leadership.
She provides all three in abundance.
“Mainly, I have just really tried to step up as a senior and be a leader,” said Storm, a two-year varsity player. “I always give 110 percent when I step onto the court and I feel that my energy is contagious to my teammates.
“I have a lot of people tell me that the whole game changes when I am not on the court.”
A 5-foot-10-inch power forward, Storm is a defensive game-changer for the ninth-ranked Class 4A Trojans. One of four seniors from last year’s sectional championship team, she is among the many reasons they are positioned for a lengthy postseason run.
Off to a 14-2 start (as of Jan. 4), the Trojans advanced to last year’s regional final and are expected to be among the contenders for the Class 4A state title.
“I would say our team’s main strength is always finding a way to fight back when we are at our lowest point,” Storm said. “We can be down, and coach will tell us to find a way and we always do. This team does not give up.”
Although not a prolific scorer, Storm is one of the Trojan’s grittiest players. A vocal and emotional leader, she’s a tenacious defender who makes the sort of invaluable contributions that don’t show up on stat sheets.
“She’s one of our best communicators in practice and on floor,” said coach Kevin Stuckmeyer, who is in his second season with the Trojans. “She talks others through everything. She competes hard in post and guards (the opponent’s) best post player every night and is willing to take charges.
“She’s a top-notch screener who’s willing to accept her role and do the ‘dirty work.’”
It’s a role the second-year varsity player warmly embraces.
“My role this season is to be that positive leader for everyone,” Storm said. “No matter (whether it’s a) good or bad game, I always try to bring out the positives.”
Leadership, however, isn’t her only strength. Though not a prolific scorer, she is arguably the Trojans’ best defender and is inarguably one of their most dynamic players.
“Defense is my strength and always has been,” Storm said. “I know that no matter if my shots are falling or not, I know that I will always have defense because defense is mainly effort. In the scheme of things, talent is not always the main key. Yes, you need to have talent, but if the effort and determination is not there, then in the end that player will bring the team down more than anything.
“I know I am not the most talented player, but I know that when I step onto the court I will do whatever I can to help my team.”
Storm’s contributions come in many forms, hence her value to the state-power Trojans. Moreover, she delivers despite nagging back pain that has plagued her throughout the season.
“She has battled through back issues all year but not wavered and continued to compete at a high level,” Stuckmeyer said. “She’s become a vocal leader and communicator on the court. She’s very much a ‘glue player’ that holds our team together. She without a doubt has been a huge contribution to our team. ”
An aspiring college player who is still sorting her options, Storm also participates in in Unified Track and Field and plans to study nursing in college. Her career goal is to become a pediatric oncology nurse.
For the moment, however, her focus is on the Trojans and doing her part in their bid for a lengthy postseason journey.
“I love playing for this team because we are so close,” Storm said. “Sometimes in games it may not look like that and we may get on each other, but at the end of the day we are all here for each other, no matter what.”
THE STORM FILE
NAME: Kylie Storm
POSITION: Power forward
EXPERIENCE: Two-year varsity player
HOBBIES/INTERESTS: Spending time with friends and family
FAVORITE TV SHOW: Grey’s Anatomy
FAVORITE MOVIE: Safe Haven or Blindside
COLLEGE: Plans to play basketball in college and study nursing; is still considering options.
PARENTS: Todd and Kristy Storm