California Pintos forward Gracie George said she is honored to be a senior on this year's girls basketball team.
"You never know what talent will be coming up through the ranks and there was a lot of talent before me," George said. "I was a sophomore before I really saw any varsity time. But I made the best out of my time on the bench, giving energy and support to the team and took advantage when I went into the game."
George said that she is proud of how hard the team fights every game.
"Some nights we are off and shots don't fall, but, as a leader, you have to keep encouraging and push through even when your own shots aren't falling," George said.
George was named the MVP for the All-Tournament Girls Team at the California Tournament this year.
"It's an honor to be named MVP of any tournament or game," George said. "I don't play to win an award, but it's nice to receive recognition."
George said that she attended basketball games since she was a baby, as she has two older siblings who played basketball. She started playing the sport in second grade. She has played in the California parks and rec program and was on a traveling team through elementary school. She began playing on the school teams during middle school.
George said that this season has been a good year for her, but that she always wants to get better.
"It's my last year, so I'm giving it my very best effort during every game and practice," George said. "Of course, I am a competitive person and I love winning. But in the end, it comes down to just getting better every game.
"My goal for the rest of the season is to keep improving. Anything after that is just a bonus."
George scored 22 points in the team's 57-52 loss to Boonville in the third place game at the Tri-County Tournament at Southern Boone, Dec. 1. George also led the team with 12 points in their first-round, 72-13 win over Versailles, Nov. 27. And she led the team with 13 points in the team's 58-54 loss to Osage, Nov. 28 in the second round of the tournament.
When it comes to her game, George said that her biggest strength is that she can play any position.
"I was always a guard in my younger years, but then ended up being a post player for the majority of middle school and played a forward the beginning of high school," George said. "I think being a versatile player is important in any sport."
"Being part of a team and celebrating the success of others on the court is just as gratifying to me as making a big shot or play," George said. "Playing basketball means being on a team and I enjoy having a second family that is there for me in any aspect."