Sophomore Aubrie Booker uses postseason experience to become team leader


S. Findley

Aubrie Booker plays on ball defense at the top of the key against Lawerence North in the Trojans regular season final.

Sam Findley and Molly Stoops

Oftentimes seniors are the de facto leaders on high school teams; however, the girl’s basketball team came into this season with no seniors on the roster and, consequently, no default leaders.

A season opening loss to Franklin Central was a wake-up call for the Trojans for a lot of reasons, but the issue of leadership was one that stuck with sophomore Aubrie Booker.

“The moment that I realized I had to be more vocal was after the Franklin Central game,” Booker said. “That game opened my perspective on how big having a leader that is constantly talking people through everything would change how we play with each other.”

The experience of a senior is often what makes them such great leaders; Booker’s experience came in leading her team during the playoffs last season.

“My run in sectionals just gave me a ton of confidence that I could fill that role of being a leader. I think it gave our team this year [the ability] to trust me more knowing that I kind of proved myself during sectionals,” Booker said. “This year I think a lot of people are just more comfortable with me leading as much as I am ever since those games.”

After last season ended in the sectional final with a loss to county rival Franklin, Center Grove had to replace senior leader Mary Wilson. Junior Ella Hobson knows just how crucial Booker has been to this season’s success.

“Aubrie is the biggest leader we have on our team, and she’s got everyone’s back and picks all of us up,” Hobson said. “She keeps us together during games. When something isn’t going our way, she makes us all huddle and calm down and get each other back in the game and focused.”

The role of leader wasn’t one assigned to her by the coaching staff but was one the team believed she could fulfill.

“Aubrie was obviously identified as one who has the capability to [lead]. She started as a freshman last year and has a really high basketball IQ, does it the right way, so it’s easy to lead by example and naturally, get some of her other teammates to look at her for experience and just as a leader, even though she is a sophomore,” head coach Kevin Stuckmeyer said.

As with many things in life, it has taken Booker time to develop into a leader, but Stuckmeyer knows the 5’8 forward is progressing at just the right rate for a deep playoff run.

“It’s definitely been a growth process when you’re a sophomore. She’s just been thrust into that and has done a tremendous job of growing in that role and continues to do it the right way,” Stuckmeyer said. “Obviously, just like our team, she’s maturing and progressing and getting to the point where we want them to be at the right time at the end of the year.”

Booker and the Trojans will look to upset No. 2 Franklin in the sectional semifinals, something that has been in the works for a year.

“Our goal going into playoffs is to win a sectional. After losing last year, I have been working toward this game since,” Booker said.