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Floyd County's Hollandsworth has a mean drive
Basketball is “more for fun” for golfer Amanda Hollandsworth. Her opponents might see it differently.
STEPHANIE KLEIN-DAVIS | The Roanoke Times
Amanda Hollandsworth is the center on Floyd County’s girls basketball team. She averages team leads of 11 points and six rebounds and still finds time to work on her golf game. It’s that smaller, white ball that she fully intends to pursue in college.
STEPHANIE KLEIN-DAVIS | The Roanoke Times
Amanda Hollandsworth (middle), center for the Floyd County girls basketball team, stretches at the beginning of an afternoon practice recently. Hollandsworth is a key player for Floyd in many ways.
Thursday, February 28, 2013
FLOYD — It may have come as news in some circles that Amanda Hollandsworth could beat somebody, do it soundly, and not require a big stick.
When the topic is high school athletics, the Floyd County junior has been and probably always will be best known for golf. But for those unaware by now that she can also play serious basketball, ignorance has never been an acceptable plea in a court of law.
Really now, it’s hard to understand how the leading scorer and rebounder on a two-loss, perennially state championship contending team that has a 15-game winning streak going into the Group A Division 2 quarterfinals could be flying under the radar. Hollandsworth’s home county doesn’t even have an airport.
But the county does have adequate floor space for run and press-’em-until-they-holler basketball as well as a country club. To date, that’s all Hollandsworth has required to take sporting flight.
Next departure: 6:45 p.m. tonight against always tough Gate City at Salem Civic Center. The winner earns a trip to the Siegel Center in Richmond for the March 8 semifinals. The Buffaloes have made the semifinals a Group A record 10 times. They last won it all in 2008 and finished second in 2009.
So given the stature of Floyd County’s basketball program, and if it is indeed true that Hollandsworth’s athletic versatility has been underappreciated, she doesn’t seem to have a problem with that. When she looks in the mirror upon brushing her teeth in the morning, she sees a golfer.
“Golf is my No. 1 thing,” she said. “Basketball is more for fun.”
Averaging 11 points, six rebounds and a couple of assists per game for a team that’s gone 25-2 this year (49-4 in two years), there’s been much fun to be had.
“Her natural love is golf, but at the same time, she loves to compete,” said Travis Cantrell, half of the Buffaloes father-son coaching tandem along with pop Alan. “She plays basketball almost as well as she plays golf. She played AAU basketball working it around her golf schedule. She does it because she loves to compete and play, and enjoys being in that team competition.”
Given golf is her game and the sport she hopes to play in college, you might wonder of the basketball is a bit of a lark that distracts her from her true mission. That’s a hard case to make when she tied for third individually playing with the boys in October’s Group A state tournament.
Even in Floyd’s icy winter, in the heart of basketball season, she doesn’t overlook her golf game. Sundays are her usual golf days.
“I’ll go out and hit three buckets of balls on the practice range,” she said.
She also finds time to drive down to Blacksburg Country Club to work with swing coach Brad Ewing.
Still, the focus is basketball for now. She’s a key player for Floyd County in many ways, not just as a scorer and rebounder. She’s 5-foot-8, which may be considered undersized for a post player, but she’s very strong. She has a fine feel for the game, so she knows how to find the open spots where she can get her shot off.
“She works extremely hard at making the team better and making herself better,” Cantrell said.
The Buffaloes offense goes inside out, which enhances Hollandsworth’s importance.
“We feel like no matter what post we have on the floor, if her numbers are facing you, then she needs to get the ball,” Cantrell said. “Amanda, for example, will pass more than she takes a shot when she gets it inside. That’s how unselfish she is, that’s how all our post players are.”
Always a lively activity in the Buffaloes gym, practice has taken on new intensity this week as members of the boys team whose season ended last week have been recruited to mix it up with the girls. For Hollandsworth, that’s meant matchups with Brandon Lemons, who has a couple of inches and many pounds on her in addition to long arms and legs, a high-revving motor and plenty of basketball skill.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” she said.
While it lasts. There’s no more than a week of the season left. After that, there’s that bucket of golf balls waiting.
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