Natasha Ballard loves playing basketball. And why not? She's pretty good at the sport.
The 17-year-old sophomore power forward for the Thomson High Lady Bulldogs said she feels complete when she plays basketball.
"I love playing the game and winning," said Ballard, who has averaged 12 points and six rebounds a game this season for Coach Eric Rogers' Lady Bulldogs. "I play the game as much as I can, hoping that I can become better and better."
Away from school, it's a common sight to see Ballard on the basketball court - somewhere. For instance, she likes playing on the court located in the Cherokee Neighborhood and sometimes goes to the Boys and Girls Club.
"I'll play anywhere," said Ballard with a big smile. "I have so much fun playing basketball. If I'm not playing basketball, I'm in the house doing my homework or trying to find a basketball game on television."
Ballard, the daughter of Angela Ballard of Thomson and Curtis Barksdale of Warrenton, has been a two-year starter for the Lady Bulldogs. Prior to that, Ballard was a two-year starter at Thomson Middle School.
"I really want to concentrate on my basketball game a lot more next season, so that I might get a chance to play college basketball someday," said Ballard.
During the last two seasons, Ballard, whose team played in Tuesday night's Region 3-AAA basketball tournament at Burke County High School in Waynesboro, has suffered from shin splints. The nagging injuries have kept her from being a four-quarter player.
"If she ever decides to take the game real serious and play four quarters, then she could become a very good ball player," Coach Rogers said. "She lacks a little maturity right now, but she's definitely got the abilities to become a real good basketball player."