With 1:28 on the clock in the first quarter against Salem, Newton point guard Precious Price squared up and released a shot she’d taken hundreds, if not thousands, of times before.
This time, however, the shot was different. This time, her shot made history.
Price crossed the 1,000-point barrier last Friday with her only basket in the first quarter, adding to her legacy as the Lady Rams’ floor general.
The 5-foot-7 senior has spent four seasons on the varsity roster, but this year, she’s ready to take an active role in Newton’s success.
Price has taken a leadership role on the team this season, a role that coach Tiffani Johnson said she fits in to quite well.
“Precious means a lot to this team,” Johnson said. “She’s a four-year starter and has experience and knowledge of the game. I think one of her most important qualities is that she has a lot of influence over her teammates. She’s a captain and a leader.”
Price began her high school journey four seasons ago as a little fish entering a big pond.
“It felt great to get to play varsity my freshman year, but I’m not going to lie, I was scared,” Price said. “But, I adjusted pretty quickly because I grew up pretty much with all of our other players. We had already played with one another since we were little, so our games matched up well and they knew my style of play.
“It was a very different level of competition,” she said. “You’re the big-time player at the middle school level, and then you come in and you’re the lowest person on the court. You’re just a freshman playing with bigger girls on a bigger level. I toughed it out though, because my team needed me.”
The Lady Rams did need Price, but Price also needed the Lady Rams. Price used her previous experience to grow and mature her game this season, turning her weaknesses into strengths.
“I’m still working on my attitude at times," Price said. "Sometimes, when things don’t go my way, I can get down. It’s something I’m still working on–it’s getting better.”
Price said that being a leader doesn’t mean that you just talk the talk, even though the diminutive guard can talk a good game. Price believes you also must lead by example.
“It can be hard being a leader, at times, but if you want to win, you have to do what it takes to get your team there,” she said. “I don’t want to rely on another team helping us get somewhere; I want us to do it on our own."
Price takes her own advice seriously, finishing the game against the Lady Seminoles with a team-high 20 points, including eight points in the second half of the 57-55 loss.
To Price, a leader has to make her mark, something she’s always striving to do.
“I’ve grown by becoming a leader," she said. "I always want to go out on the court and be able to take over a game. That’s not just for selfish reasons. I want my teammates to be able to see it so they get that same kind of mindset. I want them to think, ‘Hey, look at what Precious is doing…maybe I can do that too.’ I want to motivate them.”
While teammates and fans might say that Price’s best on-court qualities are her quickness or deadly jumper, Price takes a different approach.
“My biggest strength is picking my team up,” she said. “I’m always cheering them on. Whether I’m on the court, on the bench or injured, I want to do whatever it is I can do to keep them up and keep them energized no matter what.”
So where does the dream end for the point guard who began her journey in first grade playing rec league ball?
If it’s up to Price, it ends in the state championship game.
“I want to create my own tradition at Newton,” Price said. “I want to help lead the girls to state and take us there and make some noise. We’re going to do it together. It’s game time, and we’re ready.”
Hopefully for the Lady Rams, the Price is right.