LOWVILLE — Sydney Brown is a 3-point shooter, and a great one at that. Her 76 3-pointers last season led Section 3 and earned her a spot on the Times All-North girls basketball first team.
But that’s not the extent of her game. Brown has learned in her varsity tenure that in order to be a great 3-point shooter, you need to do more than just shoot threes.
It’s not as complicated as it sounds.
“The fact that your defender knows that you’re able to go past them and shoot it, they sag off you a little bit,” Brown said. “So I think just being a versatile player is better especially for shooting.”
Brown learned this lesson last year. She can’t pinpoint exactly when, but she noticed a shift in the way opponents guarded her.
She expects even more resistance for her senior season, so she’s been proactive in her training.
“I honestly think it’s just practice, I bring my brother to the gym and I just drive against him constantly,” Brown said. “You have to be able to force yourself to make contact, because girls don’t always like to make contact. So you have to be able to force yourself into somebody and go up with it, just force yourself to make contact.”
Teams were aware of Brown’s talents prior to last season, but her performance in 2018-19 put her on the map. Lowville coach Chris Riley doesn’t expect Brown to drop off or plateau, but at the same time recognizes how difficult it is to churn out that many threes.
With that said, the Red Raiders are an experienced bunch and don’t necessarily need Brown to make 70 plus threes in a season to see success.
“These kids have played a lot of basketball and if teams are focused on trying to stop Syd, two years ago that would have bothered her, she would have shut down a little bit,” Riley said. “Last year that didn’t happen, if teams shut her down, other kids had to step up. And those kids have developed enough to where they can step up. So you can’t just focus on one of my players this year, you have to look at everybody.”
Riley can even see Brown transitioning to more of a post player this season.
“She just has to play, play the game and take what other teams give her,” Riley said. “We’re going to be looking at her to use her in the post along with around the perimeter. Teams are going to try to defend her with somebody quick, just to try and match up and stay in front of her and we’re going to try to put her on the blocks and hopefully post up somebody that is a little bit smaller and not used to defending a post player.”
Part of what allows Riley to use Brown in different spots is the confidence he has in his other players. Sara and Anna Wood have built up a strong chemistry with Brown and can easily pick up the slack when she’s struggling.
“They know her and she knows them, they’ve played a lot of summer ball and just a lot of basketball together,” Riley said. “Sometimes, in the open court, when they just get to create and do what they do with each other, they’re really good players.”
Both Wood sisters also play a significant role in facilitating Brown’s offensive success.
“I think Sara and I are kind of like the playmakers of the team and we set her up,” Anna Wood said. “All she has to do is knock down the shot, I say ‘all she has to do,’ but she’s an incredible shooter.”
Brown and her teammates are hoping this is the year Lowville girls basketball takes the next step. Her immediate goals are to win the Frontier League and get past the first round of sectionals.
With so many different teams at Lowville experiencing great success in recent years, the girls basketball program, which has six seniors, is using that as motivation for their upcoming season.
“Sometimes I feel like girls basketball gets overlooked, so I want to bring people in so they can see that we work to and we can succeed to,” Brown said.