The first time I fully realized what an intense competitor Shelby Smartt had become occurred at a Hall of Fame game against Notre Dame High School in Whitwell this past season. The game was very close and there was a lot of contact. Late in the game, it felt as though Shelby Smartt personally decided that Warren County was not going to lose. She made key shot after shot, and Shelby was the difference in that game down the stretch.
Shelby Smartt will find a way to get to the basket when the Lady Pioneers need some points. She has made many 3-pointers when Warren County needed a big basket. There are times in a game when there appears to be no chance of Shelby making a shot, but she consistently finds a way to put points on the board. As the photos demonstrate, she often shoots off balance and fights through defenders.
Shelby Smartt will bring a lot of experience and toughness to the team next year. She has been a vital part of the turnaround in the Lady Pioneer program the past two seasons. Shelby is the type of hard-working player who never stops working hard to improve, and she gives 100% each minute she is in a game.
BD Newsletter: How would you compare this season to last season for you personally?
SHELBY SMARTT: This season I think everyone as a whole clicked a lot better. We played as a true team would, even when adversity hit. As to my sophomore season, we hadn’t found our groove yet.
BD Newsletter: How was this year’s team different than last year’s team?
SHELBY SMARTT: This year’s team was different because everyone put in work during the off season and got better and improved their game. Not only did we improve physically we improved mentally, we are no longer a young team so we’re pretty familiar with the varsity level now. We definitely matured.
BD Newsletter: Did you have any injuries or sickness this season? If you did, on a scale of 1-10, 1 being virtually no pain and 10 being maximum discomfort, how much of a discomfort were injuries?
SHELBY SMARTT: My first injury was my back. If I had to rate the pain of it, it would have been at least a 7. Next was my wrist. I’d say the pain at first was pretty bad, but it eased up fairly quickly. I’d rate it a 6. Last was my shoulder. I’d say this one has been the worst one of the season. I’d rate it a 9 or 10 considering I’m still having some issues with it.
BD Newsletter: How did you feel when the season ended?
SHELBY SMARTT: I was upset when the season ended. I wasn’t ready for it to be over, I wanted to continue making history for the Lady Pioneer program this year. But looking back at everything the team accomplished this year…it made me proud to be a part of something that started out with no foundation and now has respect.
BD Newsletter: What do you see as the strengths and weaknesses on next year’s team?
SHELBY SMARTT: Almost all our girls will be back next season. We’ve played against some of the best teams in the state and hung with them; so, I think if we stay confident and don’t underestimate anyone, we’ll be even better next year. And girls are consistently getting better each year; so our strengths are definitely the fact that we know each other’s playing styles now and we are gonna work on our game during the offseason. We’re gonna work on our weaknesses now so we will improve them before the next season.
BD Newsletter: How do you think high school basketball affects you personally, the team, the school and the town?
SHELBY SMARTT: Being a student athlete can be hard, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Basketball brought me close to girls I may have never talked to before and I love my team. They truly are my best friends, and I know I can count on them for anything, just like they can count on me. This year in particular people actually started showing up to the girls games and they started respecting our program. It made us all feel good to have our community there to support us through wins and losses.
BD Newsletter: What will you work on during the offseason?
SHELBY SMARTT: During the offseason I’m gonna work on every aspect of my game not just one specific thing. I want to be an all-around player for my team next year.
BD Newsletter: How did it feel to be named all-region this season?
SHELBY SMARTT: It feels really good, couldn’t have done it without my team. All the credit goes to them.