Avery Roller of Purdy High School recently passed the 1,000-point mark in her high school basketball career. Roller, a senior, is one of less than five players to ever achieve that distinction at Purdy High School.
As a freshman, Roller started for the Lady Eagles, although that did not always mean success. Purdy won only eight games during Roller's freshman year and had a .500 record both her sophomore and junior seasons.
This year, all that has changed. The Purdy Lady Eagles are out to one of their best starts in school history, and Roller is a large part of that success. The 5'6 guard is averaging 14 points, four assists and two steals per game for Purdy. The Lady Eagles' record through the first half of the season is 14-3.
One of Roller's best assets?
"Running the offense," said Purdy Head Coach Kelly George. In 12 games this year, Roller has recorded three assists or more. In those 12 games, Purdy is 10-2. In games that Roller has four assists or more, Purdy's record improves to 9-1.
Coach George also complimented the senior's work ethic.
"Avery is the kind of kid most parents would want their kids to model after; she is who I want my kids to take after," said George. "Avery just always has a drive to play and works hard on the court."
Roller's hardwork can be seen just by looking at her rebounding. She is third on her team in that category, averaging four a game despite being only 5'6 and the Lady Eagles' point-guard.
Roller can also score and do it efficiently. She is fifth in the Ozark 7 Conference in scoring and first in three-point goals. Roller is helped by her 46 percent shooting percentage from behind the arc. She also shoots 72 percent from the free-throw line.
Above all else Roller's biggest skill might be her leadership.
"Avery is very vocal and a huge leader for us,"?said George.
It's that kind of leadership that the Lady Eagles need down the stretch. Take for example Purdy's recent semi-final contest with the Spokane Lady Owls in the Galena Tournament.
After three quarters of play, Purdy led 42-41. The Lady Eagles had seemed ready to pull away at halftime, but Spokane rallied and closed the gap to one. With stress levels high and nerves on edge, Purdy found a way to outscore Spokane 22-7 in the final frame. Roller tallied 10 of those points, including many from the free-throw line. In fact she hit 13-of-14 of her free-throw attempts in the contest.
Her knowledge of what to do with the ball and when to take control helped the Lady Eagles win that game and go on to win the tournament.
So what does it mean to Roller to pass 1,000?
"Actually I didn't even know I was close when it happened," said Roller. "It was kind of nice to reach it though."
With this being her senior season, Roller is hoping to continue her basketball career at Hendrix College in Conway, Ark., a Division III school. She is the daughter of Mike and Kim Roller, of Purdy.