Knowledge and Power
Published: January 16, 2014
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When talking about junior Tori Tansley, Old Forge head girls basketball coach Tom Gatto keeps coming back a pair of terms that bode well for success in any athletic endeavor, knowledge and being tough.
“She knows the game real well,” Gatto said. “She’s a big, strong kid, and she’s tough on the boards.”
Toughness always plays well in Old Forge, and Tansley displays that trait in multiple sports, as not only is she the center on the basketball team, but the junior is also the catcher on the Lady Devils softball team.
“She shows her toughness behind the plate,” Gatto said. “She works well inside off the boards.”
Her attention to detail on the softball field, where she’s able to calculate where a pitch outside of the strike zone and catch it before it gets to the backstop, carries over on the basketball court.
“She knows the game well, and when a shot goes up, she knows where it’s going,” Gatto said. “She blocks out well, and nobody is going to rip the ball away from her.”
“I know where it’s headed,” Tansley said. “I take the ball to the basket, and make my foul shots.”
Tansley has developed her game over the years as the 5-foot, 6-inch junior has learned how to play against the taller opponents she faces in the lane.
“It’s a little hard going up against bigger players,” Tansley said. “You have to play physically, you can’t let them [the taller players] push you around. You have to establish position on them.”
Aside from her work in the lane, Gatto appreciates all the effort she has done to expand her game, giving the Lady Devils other options on offense.
“If we kick it in to her, she’s able to kick it back out to the right player,” Gatto said. “She’s able to shoot it from the corner.”
That usually draws the taller opponent out of the paint, away from the basket, which opens up the lane for other Lady Devils to attack the basket on dribble drives or in search of rebounds.
“We’re trying to control the lane,” Tansley said.
Tansley can even help against the press, if teams are content to let their center stay back in the lane to prevent long passes.
“She can handle the ball well,” Gatto said. “If they’re putting pressure on us, we can have her bring the ball up.”
Tansley, who has been a key cog in the Lady Devils success in both basketball and softball during her high school years, shows added versatility when she plays her sport in the fall, one where toughness is usually associated with mental acuity. She uses golf as an outlet from the physicality of her other sports, and that gives her muscles a chance to refresh, but it does keep her mind sharp.
“The hardest part is not confusing my golf swing with my softball swing,” Tansley said. “It’s a lot different, relaxes you a lot.”
But when it comes to softball and basketball, Tansley does little relaxing, and reverts back to the toughness that runs through her body. It’s her way of making an impact.