The Roxboro Community School women’s basketball team has a brand new look to it this year, as the Bulldogs sport eight new players. Seven of those new players are freshmen, while one is a sophomore.
There is one player on the Bulldogs’ women’s basketball team, however, that is familiar with the program. Paige Melton, the Bulldogs’ starting center, is the lone senior and returning player.
Melton has been a member of the Bulldogs throughout her time at RCS. She has been to the state playoffs twice before, including a state semifinal appearance in the 2016-2017 season.
Melton will try to lead the Bulldogs to a third state playoff appearance in four years. Working toward this goal, Melton and the Bulldogs started off their 2019-20 campaign on a strong note, Wednesday, beating Eno River Academy, 53-33. After the Bulldogs led by a tight 18-16 score at halftime, they found their rhythm in the second half, scoring 35 points while holding the Bobcats to only 17 of their own.
Melton was one of the Bulldogs’ top contributors in this game, dropping 19 points. Melton recorded five points in the opening frame, four in the second, two points in the third quarter, and then four more points in the final frame.
RCS is not the first place Melton has played basketball, nor is it where she gained her initial interest. “I’ve been playing basketball for a long time, probably since I was seven,” Melton said. “I played all sports when I was younger. Through that, I realized I just liked basketball. I started playing basketball at parks and rec, and I played with a lot of my friends.”
High school basketball differs from the parks and rec level, and there is an added level of intensity.
“I just liked basketball more than all the other sports,” said Melton. “I like the competition of high school basketball, playing against other girls.”
While Melton wanted to continue playing basketball, people she was close to had other ideas.
“I faced outside pressure to change from basketball. I was playing volleyball for a long time. A lot of people wanted me to play volleyball, but I wasn’t so sure about continuing on with it. I just like basketball better than all the other sports, so I just stuck with basketball.”
As the only senior on the team, Melton looks to be a leader to her younger teammates.
“I believe in them, all the girls, and I believe they will work hard in practice. I’m just ready to see what they do during the season. I’m looking forward to being the older sister, I guess you could say, to everybody else.”
As a leader, Melton has everyone’s eyes on her. Coaches expect a lot out of her, and teammates will look to her for knowledge of the game.
“I don’t think it’s really pressure that I face, but I need to make sure that I am more of an example to the other girls because they’re all just coming into basketball,” Melton said. “They don’t really know the high school level of basketball, and I want to make sure I help work them into it.”
Melton wants to help her new teammates learn more about the game of basketball, but she also has some personal goals for the season.
“I want to work on being faster,” Melton said.” If I can get up and down the court quicker, I can help put my team in a better position to win the game.”
When she is not playing basketball, Melton lives a pretty simple life.
“I like to sleep. We work so hard in practice and in games, so when I have free time, I like to use that by resting and recovering. If I take care of myself, I will be in a good position each time I take the court.”
Melton also wants to get to know her teammates better outside of practices and games.
“I’ve only known my teammates for like a week, with them being new to the team and all. We haven’t had the time yet to develop that chemistry or build those relationships. Over the course of the season, we will have the opportunity to bond as we get to know each other better,” Melton said.