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Monday, May 2, 2016

Caldwell signs to set sail with Viking ship

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Sports Editor

You don't rack up 88 wins, win back-to-back-to-back district titles and roll to nine consecutive in-season tournament crowns on the hardwood without above-average defense and 3-point shooting.

In the case of the Thayer Lady Bobcats, one player has provided both the past few seasons; Sarah Caldwell.

Caldwell ran Thayer's point-of-attack on the defensive-end of the court, while leading the Lady Cats in 3-point shooting on the offensive side.

This versatility paid off for Caldwell in the form of a scholarship offer to play basketball at Missouri Valley College in Marshall next season.

Caldwell signed a letter of intent to play for the Lady Vikings in a ceremony at the Thayer High School library May 6.

Earning All-SCA Conference honors the past two years, Caldwell is also poised to leave her mark in the Missouri High School basketball record books.

Caldwell scorched the nets for 179 3-pointers on 517 attempts during her tenure in the green-and-white of Thayer, a clip of 35-percent shooting.

This ranks Caldwell seventh in career 3-point attempts according to the Missouri State High School Activities Association record books. Her 179 treys is good for 11th place all-time in the MSHSAA books, while her shooting percentage also ranks 11th.

On a team with a 2,000-point career scorer (Megan Underwood), Caldwell logged 935 points in her time with the Lady Bobcats.

But, according to Thayer Head Coach Steve Atkisson, Caldwell's real value may be hard to measure in points or steals.

"Sarah's probably one of the smartest players I've ever coached," he said. "As a coach, you want players who absorb what you say, and Sarah definitely did that. There are different kinds of leaders. Not all of them are vocal. Sarah didn't say a whole lot in her time here, but she sure led by example."

For further proof of Caldwell's hoop smarts, Atkisson alluded to her role as defensive stopper.

"Sarah's a great defender. She got the call at the front when we played a box or diamond-in-one," he said. "And the thing that really stands out is the fact that she could get the job done without fouling out. That demonstrates what kind of basketball knowledge she has."

After starting seven games as a freshman, Caldwell moved into the starting lineup for good as a sophomore where she paced the Lady Cats from beyond the arc for three years.

This time spent on the hardwood with her fellow teammates at Thayer is time, according to Caldwell, that she will never forget.

"I have lots of 'thank you's' for everybody," she said. "Especially for my parents. They have been so supportive of me. And it's been wonderful to see all of you at the games. The support from the community we've gotten is unbelievable. I just have so many great memories of my teammates."

Caldwell's performance on and off the court at Thayer garnered the attention of recruiters at Lyon College, William Penn, Mineral Area, Three Rivers, Merimac and Ball University in addition to Missouri Valley.

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