Sophomore Olivia Bower poses for a portrait inside the Ohio University Convocation Center.
Olivia Bower, Conotton Valley High School’s (Bowerston, Ohio) all-time leading scorer in basketball, doesn’t exude the typical qualities of a scorer.
At least, not yet.
Scorers are usually confident individuals, wanting to score points in any way they can.
But Bower, a sophomore forward for Ohio, is looking to build upon last season’s learning experience, striving to be more confident in her abilities.
“Working a lot this off-season in skill, but the skill doesn’t matter if I can’t go out in a game and be confident in what I’m doing,” Bower said.
When Bower came to Ohio last fall, she had to adjust to playing against a higher level of competition. She learned Ohio’s strategies last season under the tutelage of coach Bob Boldon as well as the high standards the team has adhered to in the past three seasons.
But a student-athlete adjusting to a higher level of play is expected; it’s something every athlete must go through as he or she begins to participate in Division-I athletics.
Bower, however, had to make an extra effort during her transition to college. Her graduating class at Conotton Valley was comprised of 30 people, and she wasn’t used to being around a significant number of people.
“She is from a small town, and it’s an adjustment for all of us when we get to college,” Boldon said. “And I think that (being from a small town) might make it a little more difficult.”
With Bower in her second season, she desires to use what she learned last year, helping the team in any way she can.
Perhaps Bower can provide the team with scoring off the bench. Ohio’s first game this season was at High Point, and the Bobcats defeated the Panthers 76-48. Bower scored four points during seven minutes of play.
“Livy can score,” Boldon said earlier in November. “When she plays aggressive, she’s a good scorer for us. I think that would be her role if she gets in a game and when she gets in a game to shoot the ball.”
Scoring off the bench is an asset, especially for a team like Ohio that feeds on efficient offense. A scorer, especially one who comes off the bench, needs to want any open shot. Take Vinnie “The Microwave” Johnson, for example, a former shooting guard for the Detroit Pistons. Johnson was nicknamed “The Microwave” because of his ability to “heat up,” or score points quickly off the bench.
Boldon said Bower doesn’t have the same mindset as Johnson, calling her a team-oriented player.
But if Bower can regain the aggressive mentality she had at Conotton Valley, then it’s better for Ohio.
“Last year I did a lot of sitting back and soaking it all in and learning a lot of things,” Bower said. “But now it’s time to get my mentality back to where I have to be aggressive and apply what I know.