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Humble Smith leads the Lady Bulldogs

By Staff
Charles Prince, Hartselle Enquirer
PRICEVILLE – She holds the school record for career points and career rebounds. She averaged over 17 points and nine rebounds a game as a junior while earning honorable mention All-State honors. She helped lead her school to a 19-9 record and a berth in the sub-state playoffs in last March. Despite her successes, Priceville senior Tiffany Smith remains humble.
"I'm not better than any other high school player," Smith said. "I just your average player who loves to play basketball. I don't think of myself as that good of a player."
Even after posting the first triple-double in school history on Nov. 22 in a 71-49 win at Vinemont (12 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists), she gave her performance a bad review.
"I played terrible. I had a really bad game," Smith said. "I didn't shoot well at all. I missed shots right under the basket. I missed some rebounds I could have had. I also played bad on defense. I just didn't come up with enough steals."
Why would she be so hard on herself after helping her team to a 22-point win?
"We have to get better," Smith said. "I need to play better every game. We made it to sub-state last year. But we want to go further than we did. We want to get to the regionals. Actually, we want to go beyond that. We have four seniors, and this is our last chance to show how good Priceville basketball can be."
The four seniors, Emily Jenkins, Kristy Barker, Katherine Kirby and Smith, have played together for five seasons. Smith, who has over 1,000 career points, 600 career rebounds, and over 250 career steals and assists, thinks the four can accomplish something special.
"We've been together so long as a team, we have a lot of maturity," Smith said. "I think we used to be intimidated by other teams when our school was new. But now we aren't intimidated any more. We can win our way to Jacksonville State. " (Site of the Class 2A regionals)
Her desire for success is fueled by what Smith said is her "hate to lose" attitude.
"I'm a sore loser," Smith said. "It's horrible when we lose. I can't sleep at night after losses. It just tears me up."
Smith has two individual goals in mind for her final high school season, in addition to her team objectives.
"I want to score 30 points in
a game this season," Smith said. "My career high is 29 and I just want to have at least one 30-point game before my career ends.
"I would also like to set the school rebounding record for one game. Set a record that couldn't be broken."
Smith said her interest in a rebounding record is not a selfish one.
"When you're rebounding your playing both offense and defense at the same time," Smith said. "You can rebound and keep the other team from scoring. But you can also score on a put back or start a fast break for your team."
Smith said the motivation for her play comes from her mother, Pam Posey. Smith's mother has attended every one of Tiffany's games since we began playing basketball in the sixth grade.
"My mom really gets into basketball," Smith said. "She jumps up on every rebound I get and every shot I take. She's something to watch. I probably wouldn't play as well if she wasn't there. She really inspires me."
Smith may play without her mother in the stands next season, because she may continue her career on the hardwood at the college level. The schools showing interest in Smith at this point are all from out of the state, including Sewanee, Tenn., West Georgia College and a few community colleges in Mississippi.
Should Smith attend one of the schools recruiting her, she plans on majoring in nursing. But before she pursues a career, she has hoops dreams she hopes to fulfill next spring.
"I hope we're in a close game next March in the state playoffs," Smith said. "I would take the last shot if I was open. But I'd be just as happy to get the last rebound, or block the final shot to preserve a win.
"Whatever it takes for us to go further than last year-I'm willing to do it."