ON ROUTE TO GREATNESS: Lady Red Devils' freshman point guard Cassidy Geddes is displaying glimpses of her true potential this season

In this file photo from Feb. 7, Lady Red Devils’ freshman point guard Cassidy Geddes (10) is in a discussion with head coach Sylvia White in the victory over North Lincoln. (O-N-E file photo by Michelle Thompson)In this file photo form Jan. 21, Lady Red Devils’ point guard Cassidy Geddes (10) attempts to get by her defender in a home victory over East Lincoln inside of Lemon Gymnasium. (O-N-E file photo by Brian Hendrix)In this file photo from Jan. 17, Lady Red Devils’ freshman point guard Cassidy Geddes (10) drives down the baseline against Maiden’s senior guard Cree Bass (32). Geddes collected 12 points, eight assists, five rebounds and a career-high seven steals in the win. (O-N-E file photo by Brian Hendrix)
Marcus Smith
Sports Editor

Coaches can teach athletes the fundamentals of a sport, but the quality that cannot be taught is the drive and passion it takes to learn those fundamentals and grow in order to achieve one's highest potential. It's a natural characteristic that only a few possess.

The latter is true for Newton-Conover varsity basketball player Cassidy Geddes. Only a freshman for a squad prone to winning in recent years, Geddes has already proven that she belongs, and the ceiling for what she can be is very high.

Geddes came into the 2019-20 season looking to fill a void for the loss of point guard Tamiya Artis. She started coming off of the bench at first and worked relentlessly for the Lady Red Devils to prove her worth for a team that won its regular-season conference title and tournament title a year prior.

Due to her work ethic and drive, head coach Sylvia White gave her the opportunity to be in the starting line-up amongst great veteran talent in seniors Chyna Cornwell, Aaliah Walton and Jahlea Peters, as well as junior forward Grace Loftin.

“My first thought (about getting the starting nod) was that this was the validation that all of my hard work was paying off,” said Geddes. “My second thought was that I was going to need to continue to improve my game to make sure that I could contribute to the team.”

Something Geddes has been really effective at this year is her ability to hound the opposing guard with her on-ball defense.

In 29 games played, according to MaxPreps, she leads the team in steals per game with 3.1. On the year so far, she has earned 90 steals but has also been effective with nine blocks. She gets after it every possession in the passing lanes and has been apart of 43 pass deflections.

“I believe that grit comes from an inner desire to not just beat your opponent but to completely shut them down,” said Geddes. “I think part of my defense came naturally from my instincts but another part came from techniques I was taught. My father, Leonard Geddes, played a big role in teaching me the technique, concepts and discipline necessary to play good defense.”

One of her biggest games so far in her young career came against rival Maiden on Jan. 17 in a 71-29 victory at Maiden High School. Her “grit” led her to obtain 12 points – including a pair of threes – eight assists, five rebounds and a career-high seven steals.

On the offensive side of the ball, Geddes has been able to prove she can help space the floor behind the three-point line (31 percent), as well, as she is the second-leading shooter on the perimeter behind Loftin – who is shooting at a 35 percent clip.

She is averaging 7.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, a team-high 4.2 assists, along with the aforementioned 3.1 steals per game.

Following the Lady Red Devils' (27-2, 14-0) third-straight South Fork 2A Conference tournament championship win on Feb. 21, Geddes was selected along with Cornwell, Walton and Loftin to the 2019-20 All-Conference team.

“It felt affirming hearing my name announced for making the all-conference team,” she said. “It was such a big achievement for this early stage of my basketball career. I had been dreaming of being a varsity Lady Red Devil for many, many years. This recognition was just one of the many highlights of the season.”

She said that she wants to continue to improve her shooting percentage, the effectiveness of her ball-handling, as well as the ability to finish in different situations. She also feels that another crucial element of her game she must improve is her on-court basketball IQ.

Geddes said that she has felt pressure to be great this season and she thrives on that as she feels it's what makes her team as good as they are.

“Our practices are pretty competitive,” she said. “We really go at each other to make each other better. Also, every game each player pushes herself to get better (and) we strive for greatness which allows us to continue to get better every game.

“A lesson I have learned from my team and coaches is that when calls or the game aren't going your way you have to persevere through and not get over-emotional. I am able to learn many lessons from my teammates because they are such good role models.”

Geddes and company look to have added success as the No. 3-seeded Lady Red Devils will challenge No. 1-seed Salisbury (29-1) on Saturday at noon inside of the Tarlton Complex at CVCC in the NCHSAA 2A West Regional.