Sunday, October 16, 2016

Elizabeth Metress's Winning Ways

At Augusta University’s first Men’s and Women’s hoops practices I hung out with Grovetown High multi-sport star Elizabeth Metress, a senior Warriors shortstop on the softball field and sharp shooting guard on the basketball court. Coach Dip Metress’s daughter is an even bigger Jags fan than I:

“I couldn’t sleep last night because I knew practice was starting at 8:00 AM,” Elizabeth told me as she worked the scoreboard during practice, the first of two Saturday for the Jaguars. Elizabeth has seen more Augusta University basketball than anybody besides her father, and she has seen a remarkable amount of winning basketball. During her 17 years, her dad’s teams have won 338 games and lost 124, a 73% winning percentage that almost every coach in the game would envy.

Coach Metress says Elizabeth has brought him good luck. “We have quite a unique bond that carries over from family to my profession,” he said in a message after the Jags' second practice Saturday.

A winner in the classroom

As a student, she has carried over the family’s winning habits to log a 3.95 GPA and a 1270 on her SAT (620 verbal, 650 math) while at the same time excelling in three sports. Those academic stats line up with the requirements to earn a Zell Miller Scholarship, the most ambitious, and lucrative, merit based academic award available to Georgia’s students that I’ve seen. Elizabeth already takes college courses at Augusta University under the dual enrollment program, and she is the vice president of the student council at Grovetown.

A winner on the court

Her athletic achievements are as impressive as any I’ve mentioned thus far. Metress was a key member of the Grovetown Lady Warriors’ hoops squad that won 28 of 30 games last season and earned a region tournament title in our area’s most competitive league. She was instrumental in what were by far her team’s two most impressive, and at the time most uncertain, victories of the season.

Her most impactful performance last season came at Grovetown’s most crucial moment. Last February, she blew open the region championship game against rival Cross Creek with a barrage of threes that sent the home crowd into a frenzy as the Lady Warriors avenged, for the second time, their only loss of the season and earned a number one seed in the state tournament.

About 60 days earlier, she delivered her teammates and herself a Christmas present when she scored 11 fourth quarter points, including 3 three pointers, to help Grovetown stay undefeated with a 51-48 win over North Augusta in the Yellow Jackets' Christmas tournament. That game was especially fun because the high fiving and celebrating that grew more intense after every Metress bomb gave a glimpse into the bond that she and fellow senior Destiny Marshall have formed, which developed over many years of competing first against, and now alongside, each other.

A winner on the field

In recent weeks Elizabeth and her teammates on the softball diamond became the first softball team to reach the state tournament in school history. The Warriors also topped Coffee High School 2 games to 1 last week to advance to the sweet sixteen round of the state playoffs.

The coming state tournament games at Cambridge High have momentarily taken Elizabeth’s mind off her final basketball season. “We have a basketball team meeting Monday, but coach Echols said I didn’t have to go so I can concentrate on softball right now,” Metress said when talking about balancing her busy schedule.

As you can see from the picture above, Elizabeth is approaching all of her activities, especially Saturday’s early morning, season opening Jags practice, with a smile and her special kind of enthusiasm. I think Jags fans and Elizabeth Metress fans can remain confident she will keep her winning touch for a long time.

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