Monday, February 04, 2008

And they said it couldn't be done....

Who SAYS it's hard to find a job?

Ask Dan Cassavaugh, who graduated about 15 minutes ago (OK, so it was December) as a journalism major and "almost immediately" -- those are his words, "almost immediately" -- landed a job as a sportswriter for the Watertown Daily Times. He covers all the high school and college sports in the North Country (SUNY Canton, Potsdam, Clarkson, St. Lawrence University).

Dan started at the newspaper in mid-January. Here's his first story (way to go, Dan!)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008
ST. REGIS FALLS — Thirty minutes before tip-off, St. Regis Falls sophomore guard Krista Lucas laughs with teammates, maybe does a dance, and loosens up everyone else. When warm-ups start, the laughs slowly turn into jitters. In the huddle before the tip, Lucas is just plain nervous. No one notices in the crowd come tip time, however.

"As soon as I walk on the court it all goes away," Lucas said.

That's because Lucas is likely the most prepared girls basketball player on the court.

She spends countless hours with her brother and father outside, in the driveway, working on her ballhandling, her left hand and her jump shot. Winter weather doesn't faze her, either, as she works outside all year long.

"It's cold," Lucas said. "But it's worth it."

Her work ethic and her passion for basketball earned her a starting spot for St. Regis Falls in eighth grade. She is the youngest basketball player to ever start for head coach Wilbur Bailey in his 25 years of coaching.

"I couldn't believe how much more advanced she was," Bailey said. "Her whole knowledge of the game was just very surprising for a girl that young."

In her first full season, Lucas averaged more than 10 points per game and has improved that mark every year.

"I work at it a lot," she said. "As much as I can."

Her determination to get better has paid off as this season she leads the Saints in points and assists per game, with 17.2 and 3.4, respectively. Her points production ranks her third in all of Section 10.

With 632 career points and still five regular-season games left this year, Lucas is poised to break the 1,000-point mark before her senior season.

Across the board, Lucas's statistics are among the best in Section 10. She leads the league in rebounds, blocked shots and 3-pointers per game with 9.8, 3.4, and 2.1, respectively. She is also the only player so far this season to score at least 32 points. She did it twice.

"Her skill level is unbelievable," Bailey said.

It isn't all about her, according to Lucas, who says she just enjoys being part of the team and making sure everyone else gets involved. Sometimes her unselfish attitude on the court forces Bailey to step in.

"Sometimes I tell her, 'You've got to shoot the ball,'" he said. "She's always looking for the open person."

Not only does she produce on the court, but in the classroom she is equally as talented. Lucas maintains an A average in high school and plans to continue her education and her play at the next level.

"A dream would be to play for Duke or North Carolina," Lucas said. "I want to go as far as I can."

Coach Bailey has high hopes, too.

"It's up to her what she does," he said. "I know she can go on and play in college."

Three years ago, she was an unknown eighth-grader from a school district comprised of 321 total students and a seven-player varsity girls basketball team. Today, Lucas is a highly respected threat on both sides of the ball.

"I think everybody in this league wishes they had one of her," Bailey said.

For now, Lucas is happy shooting free throws by the light on her garage in 10-degree weather.

"I just have a passion for the game," she said.


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