Howell elevates her game and SCA
Published 5:26 pm Saturday, February 6, 2016
To get the win on Jan. 28 against visiting conference rival Summit Christian Academy, Suffolk Christian Academy’s girls’ basketball team needed something extra on offense.
Zoie Howell provided it.
The Lady Knights senior forward and Duke Automotive-Suffolk News-Herald Player of the Week helped her team defeat the Lady Eagles 46-45 by elevating her level of play overall and by coming through in the clutch.
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With just under a minute left in the game and the Lady Knights down by one, Suffolk Christian coach Daniel Farrenkopf and his team drew up a play designed for star junior forward Victoria Twisdale to get off a good shot.
“We executed it really well,” Farrenkopf said. “Victoria missed the shot, and as usual, Zoie was there,” boxing out, getting the rebound, but then she executed a key put-back.
“I got the basket that put us over (the Lady Eagles) first, and then my friend Victoria scored again, and then the other team scored, but they needed one more point, which they didn’t get,” Howell said.
Twisdale finished with 14 points to lead the Lady Knights, and senior guard Brianna Farrenkopf contributed 13, but Coach Farrenkopf put special emphasis on Howell’s 12 points and eight rebounds, noting the scoring was eight to 10 points above her average.
“It just seemed like that week, she just stepped everything up,” Coach Farrenkopf said. “She’s a hard worker anyway.”
Evaluating her play that week, Howell said, “I felt that I did fairly well. I’d been really struggling earlier in the season, but then we’ve been working a lot on our shots in practice, and Coach has been really working with me on my form, and I think that’s what helped a lot.”
As for what she brings to the Lady Knights, “I, in general, am a natural defensive and aggressive player,” Howell said. “So I think I bring encouragement and aggression on the team.”
Coach Farrenkopf has come to rely upon her for her consistency.
“She’s always giving 100 percent and her attitude is always positive, and I think that she’s a leader in that way on the court,” he said. “She never wants to go out.”
Howell has a couple of key motivations driving her to improved play on the hardwood.
“I would probably say that my biggest motivation is doing my best and giving all the glory to God,” she said. “Without Him, I wouldn’t be where I’m at.”
Howell was first introduced to the game of basketball in the driveway of some neighbors who have made a key impact on the Suffolk Christian boys’ basketball program — the Leiter family.
With her half-brother Steven Effler, Howell learned about the sport through pick-up games at the Leiters’ and pointed to former Knights star Nathan Leiter as the person most responsible for getting her into hoops.
As an eighth-grader, she followed a suggestion from the Leiters to try out for the girls’ basketball program at Suffolk Christian, then called First Baptist Christian School. After a year on the junior varsity team, she has been a varsity player each year of her high school career.
Nathan Leiter gave her some pointers when she was young, but he refused to take any credit for her success now.
“Her hustle and how hard she plays is the biggest reason that she does well,” he said.