O’Day a tall order for opponents
Senior’s growth lands her multiple roles for Plainfield girls basketball
By Mike Beas
The summer months separating Sarah O’Day’s sophomore and junior school years at Plainfield High School were literally and figuratively, a time of growth.
Sarah O’Day grew six inches between her sophomore and junior years, making her a more all-around player on the basketball court for Plainfield. (Photo by Rick Myers)
O’Day, formerly a 5’5” guard in the Quakers girls basketball program, evolved into the versatile 5’11” player she is today. Still capable of doing guard-like things for Plainfield, O’Day’s wingspan enables her to help along the interior if needed.
“I kind of play anywhere, but if I have a favorite, it’s playing shooting guard,” said O’Day. “I usually play against smaller guards, and I have good court vision.”
The Quakers, who are 369-181 in 24 seasons under head coach Curt Benge, were an uncharacteristic 10-13 a year ago. It marked only the second time the program finished with a sub-.500 record since the 2000-01 season.
“I definitely want our team to flip that this season,” said O’Day. “We need to grow as a team and mature, and I definitely want to help the younger girls along. Being a leader is definitely something you grow into.”
O’Day is an imposing presence at the top of Plainfield’s 1-2-1-1 zone defense when Benge elects to go that route. When the Quakers play man-to-man defense either full court or halfcourt, O’Day guards the opponent’s best player.
As a junior, she led the Quakers in steals with 1.8 per game to go along with averages of 6.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2 assists.
In Plainfield’s final four games last season, O’Day produced some of her best games offensively with 17, 12, 8 and 20 points. The latter, a 63-59 loss to Mooresville in the Class 4A sectional at Terre Haute South, included her corralling seven boards, dishing two assists and making a pair of steals.
“Sarah kind of plays everywhere,” said Benge, who brings back a veteran cast of players, including junior forward Maycee Woods and sophomore forwards Ellie Wilkerson and Jozee Rhodes. “She can play the ‘2’, ‘3’ and ‘4’ spots, and can even handle the basketball if we’re in a pinch.
“We’re looking to have a breakout season, and Sarah has become our best defender. She always had the tools. It was a matter of putting in the time, and you could see that evolution as last season progressed.”
O’Day is in her second season as a captain for Plainfield girls basketball, sharing the title this winter with classmates Allie Good and Kyla Smith. She also carries a 3.7 grade-point average and has committed to Grace College to play basketball and be part of the Lancers’ women’s track and field program.
Even in track, O’Day participates in events traditionally reserved for athletes who aren’t a shade under 6-foot. She placed third in the 100-meter dash at the Zionsville Sectional in 12.78 seconds and fifth in the 200-meter race.
As is becoming customary with O’Day, first appearances were deceiving.