It's always a good time to talk with some of area high school basketball standouts when their college teams come to the Snyder Activity Center at Ohio Valley University to play the Fighting Scots.
Thursday evening at the SAC, it was former Williamstown cager Liz Flowers' turn. She has started every game this season - as just a mere freshman - at point guard for West Liberty, which edged out OVU 77-69 in double overtime to improve to 4-2.
Flowers ''didn't expect to start'' this season, ''but thought I might get some playing time.'' However, when the point guard that the Hilltoppers recruited had to redshirt, ''I became the point guard,'' she said. ''They've been working with me on that, and it's been hard because even though I played point guard throughout high school, it's completely different on the college level.''
In college, said the 5-foot-8 Flowers, a multiple first-team all-stater for Fred Sauro's Yellowjackets, ''the pace of the game is faster, the girls are stronger, the intensity is completely different than in high school. I'd be nervous in high school games, but college games are a lot more nerve-racking.''
West Liberty assistant coach Mike Drahos talked to Flowers several times during the game. ''He kind of calms me down, because I'm a head case sometimes,'' she said. ''He just tells me to relax and to do what I know to do. He's real helpful, but I know I still have a lot to learn.''
Flowers, known more as a scorer in high school, is content playing a different role - at least right now - in college, leading her team in steals and handing out six assists on Thursday to go with her five points. ''My role now is not necessarily to be a scorer,'' she said, ''but to set up the offense, start the plays, make good entry passes and distribute the ball to our scorers.''
Next season when the redshirted point guard returns, Flowers expects to ''probably be moved to shooting guard or small forward, but I might be the backup point guard as well. You just never know though, so you just have to work hard and earn your spot.''
On Thursday, a contingent from Williamstown was at OVU to see Flowers play, including her parents as well as Sauro, his coaches and this year's Yellowjacket squad. ''It was really nice; it's good to see familiar faces,'' she said. ''I love coming home and being home, but it was still really nerve-racking because, you know, I did want to do well for them and want them to see that I'm doing all right. But I just got really nervous.''
Flowers, however, scored 20 points, her college high, to lead the 'Toppers over W.Va. Wesleyan last week, and leads the team in steals, is second in assists and third in rebounds.
''She's able to score, but right now, she's mostly helping her team in other ways,'' noted Sauro. ''For us, she ran the point, but that was a different role for us as a scoring point guard. Now, her job is to run the offense and I think she's making the adjustment very well and doing a good job with it.''
West Liberty head coach Lynn Ullom, who called Flowers ''extremely talented,'' said ''she does what you tell her and works really, really hard. But when you're playing at the Division II level, there is a learning curve for every player, and she's going to have some ups and downs - that's the way that it works. But as long as she stays positive and continues to work, she's going to be a great player in this league (WVIAC).''
Contact Steve Hemmelgarn at firstname.lastname@example.org