The end of an era
As the end of basketball season approaches, the Lady Wave’s only senior Zoey Swisher is preparing to finish her high school athletics career.
In her three-year varsity basketball career, she has scored 156 points on 32 free throws; she has also tallied 155 rebounds, 58 assists and 69 steals.
Fallon coach Anne Smith said Swisher has been a great player in her time on the team.
“The thing about Zoey is, offensively she wasn’t one of the big dogs,” she said. “But over the last three years, she’s become a phenomenal defensive player. We would tell her ‘you have to stop this girl,’ and she does her job; that’s her assignment, she’ll do it.”
Smith said there were a number of games she felt Fallon won because of Swisher’s defensive play.
“The person like that doesn’t always get the glory like an offensive player would, but it doesn’t go unnoticed by the coaching staff,” she said. “We recognize what a big part she plays on the floor.”
Swisher began playing basketball in second grade. She recalled Missy McCormick took her daughter to a co-ed youth’s tournament, and they needed one more girl for the team. Swisher agreed to play and went on to be in every tournament until the eighth grade.
Swisher started high school basketball her freshman year and moved up to varsity as a sophomore.
Smith recalled Swisher was a little overwhelmed, as all players are when they become a varsity starter. She looked up to the older players and worked hard to improve.
“It didn’t matter that she was one of the younger ones on the team. She was willing to work hard every day at practice,” Smith said.
Swisher has been point guard for the Lady Wave for three years. Smith said her senior has grown as a player, contributing more to the offense in addition to her defensive play.
Swisher said she likes how fast-paced basketball is and how there’s always something going on.
“It’s never boring,” she said. “I just enjoy the tempo. I just love it.”
Debbie Swisher, Zoey’s mother, said her daughter has been on some great teams and had great coaches who influenced her. She said the basketball community in Fallon creates families and deep, long-lasting relationships.
“It’s just fantastic; it’s been a lot of fun,” she said.
Zoey said she will miss her teammates. She said they’re her best friends and feels it’ll be hard to leave because of how close they are.
“Basketball allowed me some friendships and relationships I don’t think I would have gotten without it, and I’m forever grateful for them,” Swisher said.
Smith said Swisher is a phenomenal person, and she couldn’t ask for a better leader on the team. She described Swisher as a hard worker who’s always ready to go, listening to coaching well and trying her best.
“She’s just an outstanding young lady,” Smith said. “I’ve really enjoyed working with her these last three years … you couldn’t ask for a better leader on the floor.”
Zoey said Smith is like a second mom to her. She said her coach is one of the women she looks to as a role model, and she is very happy to have met her.
Smith said Swisher has had a big influence on her life as well. She said her daughters look up to Swisher and the other basketball players as their role models.
“She is a great, great young lady,” Smith said. “It’s been a pleasure, it’s been an honor, getting to coach her.”
Smith said it can be hard to let a player leave; she said she knows it’s time, though, and Swisher is ready for the next part of her life.
“I’m excited for her to take the next chapter in her life, but it just hurts to see them go,” Smith added.
After graduating, Swisher said she will be “just” a student and has no plans to play any college sports. She’ll be going to the University of Nevada, Reno in the fall to study kinesiology to become a physical therapist.
While studying in college, she will still be a fan of the Greenwave and plans to continue rooting for her team and the friends she left behind.