Hanson and Storie connect as Lady Landers

By Wes Holtsclaw
STAR CORRESPONDENT

   Two big keys to a basketball team is a solid outside threat, and a go-to inside attack. The Cloudland Lady Highlanders have both.
   The duo of Tara Hanson and Amy Storie have been a big key to the success of the sixth ranked Lady Highlanders this season.
   "Every coach is going to tell you the most important things are having a point guard and having a post player," said Cloudland head coach Matt Birchfield. "I'm fortunate to have good ones. You get a big girl that's 6-2 inside and a great point guard that can shoot, handle the ball and make very few turnovers."
   "It's great to have," he said, "Usually you may have one of those."
   Both were All Conference selections last season, while Hanson took the MVP award at the regional tournament.
   Hanson is averaging around 20 points per game, while Storie is garnering a double-double performance every time she goes out.
   "This season is really going good," said Hanson. "Everybody's playing together. We're trying to play our best and work towards our conference games."
   "It's been really good season thus far," said Storie, "It's been a pleasure to play here, I've really enjoyed it and I love to win, that's something we do."
   Hanson has contributed to the varsity squad for four seasons and become a big presence at the point guard position for the Highlanders.
   "We knew she was a great player when I had her as a sophomore," said Birchfield. "She only played two quarters on the B team when I had them, she stepped up then and was a great player."
   "It's been a lot of fun," Hanson said. "I hope I've improved as much as possible. We've went through a couple of coaches, but this year has been the best."
   "From a point guard standpoint, it's a big position and she had to step up and take that challenge," Birchfield said, "We were losing Ashley (Stockton) last year and Tara's such a hard worker, she's stayed in the gym and that type of thing made her great."
   Hanson has enjoyed her time spent with the other four seniors on the squad, as well as the support her family has given her over the years.
   "It's great to have us five out there," she said, "We've been playing together for so long and we know what's going on with each other."
   "It's also nice to have my entire family out in the stands at every game. Even if we've had a bad game they are there to support me," she said, "A lot of people don't have that support so I'm really fortunate."
   Storie has started the past two seasons on the varsity squad, but began playing with the Lady 'Landers during her sophomore year.
   Said Birchfield: "She came in as a sophomore and played on the B team for us and really developed. Amy's improvement over the three years she has been here has been remarkable. We may not have anybody who has improved as much."
   "She's developed her right hand a little bit since she is left handed," he said. "She's stayed in the gym and worked. She's got a great attitude towards the game and coming in this last year and being the post player we've needed. And throughout this year, she's stepped up and become a leader."
   Storie has enjoyed her senior year at Cloudland.
   "It's going pretty good," she said, "There's been some ups and downs, but we all love each other and like to play with each other. The main thing is that we all want to win, so we come together for that if nothing else."
   Amy has also seen a lot of family support throughout her career.
   "I've got a lot of family support," she said, "There's not a whole lot of athletes in my family and I've played basketball since I was in the second grade and they've always supported me."
   Going into a big weekend against Unaka and Cosby, she knows the team must take each game step-by-step.