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Caleb Turrentine / The Herald Edgewood’s Lindsey Brown passes the ball during Tuesday’s game against Crenshaw.

It may not be that rare to see an eighth-grader play on varsity in the AISA but Edgewood’s Lindsey Brown is going above and beyond just being on the court. Brown, an eighth-grader and the starting point guard, has been the leading scorer for the Wildcats’ girls basketball team and she continues to show improvement with each game.

“We’re trying to teach her how to develop into her own game and create her own identity as a point guard,” Edgewood coach Darryl Free said. “So far, she has done a great job of understanding what we need from her and it seems like she feels more comfortable now.”

Brown reached double figures for the fourth consecutive game last Tuesday as the Wildcats knocked off Crenshaw 49-13. Brown led all players with 18 points, outscoring the opponents by herself.

“Lindsey has been pretty consistent for us all year,” Free said. “Her energy on the defensive side of the court translates into offense. She’s able to get out and run. She never gets tired so if we can get her the ball in transition like that, she can get easy buckets.”

During the four-game stretch, Brown averaged 18.8 points per game as the Wildcats went 3-1. Brown scored a season-high 25 points in a 50-40 win over Evangel. 

While Brown is Edgewood’s top scoring option in its half-court offense, a lot of her production starts on the defensive end as the Wildcats’ pressure creates turnovers. Brown’s teammates know to get her the ball on the break.

“That’s amazing for me,” Brown said. “When the team has my back like that and I know I can depend on them to do good on defense. Those deflections and steals are always good. You have to have defense first in order to play well.”

As a team, the Wildcats (5-3) recorded 19 steals in last Tuesday’s win over Crenshaw, nine of them coming in the first quarter. Brown had two and scored nine points in the period to help Edgewood jump out to a 22-2 lead.

“That’s been our identity as a team all year,” Free said. “We’re not the best in a half-court set and we know that. If we’re going to get up and outscore teams, it’s going to start on defense. We want to get run outs and throw the ball up the floor. We’re getting better and better.”

Brown gets plenty of help from the supporting cast which includes her sister Haylee Brown and Madison White and Grayson Laney in the starting lineup. Brown said she expected to take on a bulk of the scoring load coming into the season but she also knows there are plenty of other options when the team needs it.

“I knew I was going to have a lot of backup coming into the season,” Brown said. “I just had to do my part to help them with scoring. I know I can rely on them. They’re always picking me up and they show that leadership that I need.”

Free said Brown has a high basketball IQ and a lot of things come naturally to her but it is because of how hard she works at it. And as the season rolls on, it is easy to recognize Brown getting more comfortable as she becomes a leader despite being the youngest player on the team.

“That’s just what a point guard has to do,” Brown said.

Caleb Turrentine is a sports writer for Tallapoosa Publishers Inc.