Lambert junior forward Logan Bush and North Forsyth sophomore guard Caroline Bowns demand more from themselves than anyone else. Their teams reaped the rewards of those high expectations throughout the season.
Bush averaged 16 points per game, nine rebounds, two assists and two steals this season, while Bowns tallied 16 ppg, five rebounds and four assists. Their numbers caught the attention of the Forsyth County Tipoff Club, which named them Players of the Year.
Bush, a three-year starter, helped guide the Longhorns to a program record 17 wins this season. He scored 19 points in Lambert’s 52-47 win over South Forsyth in the region tournament, which secured the program’s first state playoff berth.
"I have high expectations for myself and I think I lived up to what I expected myself to do," Bush said.
"I want to win a region championship [next season] and go out and make a state tournament run because we have a pretty bad taste in our mouth from our state tournament game [an 81-24 loss to Norcross] this year. It’ll take hard work and pushing my teammates and just making sure everybody’s on the same page."
Added Lambert head coach Scott Bracco: "It’s a well-deserved honor for him to be named player of the year. He’s one of the hardest workers I’ve ever coached. He competes every play, and that’s tough to get players to do all the time.
"When one of your top players is your hardest worker, success comes a little easier."
North has broken the program record for wins in each of Bowns’ first two seasons. The Lady Raiders racked up 24 wins and finished runner-up in the region tournament last season. North knocked off Mountain View 78-60 in the first round of the playoffs before falling to Cherokee 65-53 in double overtime. Bowns led the team with 23 points in the close contest.
But before the basketball season even started, Bowns broke her fibula and tibia during the soccer season. She couldn’t focus on basketball because she was forced to do months of rehabilitation.
"This year was definitely a tough year coming into the season having a five or six month break," Bowns said. "I did physical therapy three times a week and I swam at the Aquatic Center to work on other muscles to keep them strong.
"I came back and had workouts with coach Herrick and worked really hard and came back to finish the summer with one last tournament with my AAU team."
All of her offseason work paid off, as Bowns scored 463 points and dished out 71 assists to set school records for most points and assists in a season.
"I didn’t expect to be named player of the year, but I’m very grateful and blessed that I was," Bowns said. "I’m really happy and couldn’t have done it without my coaches, my teammates and my family.
"I’m working on becoming a better player, a smarter player, a better teammate and a better leader."
Few were more proud of her accomplishments than North head coach Eric Herrick.
"She makes us go," Herrick said. "She’s a great scorer and makes plays for us and is someone you want others to strive to emulate. Anytime we need a big bucket, she makes it for us."