GIRLS PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Belmont's Anna Brooke Page: 'Cool, calm and collected'

By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal

Micah Page isn’t ashamed to admit he has trouble beating his older sister one-on-one in a basketball pickup game.
“I’ve only won about twice against her,” he said.
Join the club, brother.
Few foes win against Belmont’s Anna Brooke Page, the slim, 5-foot-11 senior forward who powered and finessed – and at times, willed – her team to a 33-2 record and a Class 3A state championship this season.
“She has a strong desire to see her team succeed,” Lady Cardinals coach Chris Higginbottom said. “When there’s a chance, she’s going to get the job done.”
Page, who averaged 20.9 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.1 steals, has been named the Daily Journal’s Girls Player of the Year for the 2009-10 season.
In the championship game against Ripley, Page took control late in regulation and scored on two 3-point plays to help the Lady Cardinals tie the game and force overtime, where they won 60-55.
“Page’s tough; we couldn’t stop her,” Ripley coach Katie Bates said postgame.
Page’s lone motivation, she says, is her desire to win.
“I just want to do what’s best for my team and help us win games,” she said. “I know my team depends on me.
“Coach Higginbottom always tells me that big-time players step up and make big-time plays. I know he’s counting on me. Plus, I love to have the ball in my hands.”
Page uses her skills and knowledge of an opponent to win a lot of battles against stronger, more athletic competition.
Student of the game
“She’s great about getting in position to make plays and get rebounds,” Higginbottom said. “A lot of that has to do with her awareness of the game. She knows her opponent’s strengths and weaknesses.”
Higginbottom says another quality Page has is her on-court demeanor. “She looks at pressure as a challenge,” he said. “She plays cool, calm and collected.”
Page has offers from Northeast Mississippi Community College and some NCAA Division II schools, but hasn’t made a decision on where she will sign. She wants to play college ball and eventually become a coach.
Page developed her skills over the course of 12 years.
“I’ve played basketball since the first grade,” she said. “I started shooting way before then.”
She continues to hone her skills in practice and in one-on-one play against Micha.
“It gets very competitive,” she said of the sister-brother battles.
“She’s tough to defend,” said Micha, a sophomore on Belmont’s boys team. “You have to watch out for her everywhere. She’s always bringing something new to the floor.
“I try to keep her out of the lane, but she never gives up.”