SAC girls Tournament
•No. 1 South Side vs. No. 8 North Side, 8:30 a.m.
•No. 4 Bishop Luers vs. No. 5 Bishop Dwenger, noon
•No. 2 Snider vs. No. 7 Northrop, 3:30 p.m.
•No. 3 Concordia vs.
No. 6 Wayne, 7 p.m.
•South Side-North Side winner vs. Bishop Luers-Bishop Dwenger winner, 3 p.m.
•Snider-Northrop winner vs. Concordia-Wayne winner, 4:45 p.m.
•Championship, 6:15 p.m.
FORT WAYNE — Don’t be fooled by Meredith Shipman’s big smile. The Snider senior guard still might be having a bad game, but she just doesn’t show it.
“I always have tried to keep a smile on my face no matter what the situation has become,” Shipman said. “Because even if look the slightest bit angry, an opponent can use that against you. I attempt to always be happy, smiling and carefree really, and usually that will transfer to your teammates. How your leaders act on the court is generally how the rest of your team will act. If am mad then everybody else is mad, but if I am happy then everybody is happy.”
But there aren’t many times when the Western Michigan recruit’s smile isn’t genuine.
“She keeps them calm,” first-year Snider coach Kelley Meiklejohn said of the rest of the Panthers. “Since we are a run-and-gun team, all pressure, that kind of tenses up our team, and she has a way of keeping them calm. That’s something I need because I don’t know how to do that yet.”
In her new role as a team leader, Shipman is averaging 14.8 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.9 assists for the Panthers (8-1), who are receiving honorable mention votes in the Class 4A poll heading into this week’s SAC tournament at Wayne.
“I have a leadership role more this year,” the 5-foot-9 guard said. “Last year, I was pretty vocal, but everything is pretty much running through me and I need to be even more vocal.”
Shipman led the team in assists last season (6.5), but with the loss of the graduated Akilah Sims and Kari Barnes, scoring has been her priority this season. Or at least that’s how Meiklejohn sees it.
“She is very unselfish and looks for her teammates maybe more than she should,” Meiklejohn said. “She makes them look better once she is on the floor.
“We get into foul trouble a lot, so I can use her from the 1-4 positions depending on who else is on the floor with her, so that helps me out a lot. You run a play, and she knows what every position does on that play.”
Pass-first is hard for Shipman to pass up on.
“The way I play is more toward helping my teammates out than myself,” she said. “I try work both of them into the game, and when I do work them both in, that’s when I play at my best. Sometimes you just aren’t shooting as well, and you have to pass more. Maybe you are turning it over more, so you need to shoot it more. Every game brings a new feel. It depends on who you are playing, how your teammates are playing and how you are playing. It is just a guessing game, pretty much.”
The SAC tournament is sponsored by SportOne Ortho Northeast.