6-foot Shooter plays hard

Saturday, July 17, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 6:16 a.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

Coach of the Mid Missouri Shooters Steve Walton believes his center/forward Samantha Heck can do it all herself, but usually doesn’t.

Heck of Middletown, Mo., has played basketball since she was in kindergarten. The 13-year-old Heck has played on 11 different teams, including the Shooters. On Friday during the opening round of the 13-and-under Show-Me Games girls basketball tournament, Heck warmed up wither her Shooter teammates preparing to play the Crusaders from Springfield, Mo. At 6-foot, Heck was tallest player on the court. She played hard from the tip, which she won, until the final horn, after her team had lost, 40-34.

“I played average,” said Heck, who scored 12 points and had 12 rebounds. She also had a block and a steal.

“I wasn’t hitting too many shots,” she said.

The Crusaders didn’t make it easy for Heck, double and triple teaming her every time she touched the ball.

“It’s nothing new, I’m usually double teamed every game,” Heck said.

Although she was not satisfied with her offense, Heck was a force on defense. Her defensive assignment for most of the game, Kati Youssefi scored only eight points.

“She is a very talented basketball player both individually and as a team player,” Walton said.

Heck played the whole game except for 12 seconds in the second quarter.

Not only did she cover Youssefi, she came out and defended the Crusaders guards as well. During one point, Crusaders guard Natalia Allen was on a two-on-one fast break and Heck hustled back from the opposite end of the court to foul Allen, preventing her from scoring an easy layup.

“That tall girl was really intimidating,” Crusader guard Kylee Kunkel Royston said after the game.

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