It's not difficult to overlook North Carroll senior point guard Aubrey Wilfong.
At 5 feet 2, she's almost always certain to be the smallest player on the floor. And with the Panthers' program in the middle of rebuilding, her skills sometimes go unnoticed -- except by opposing teams, which work hard on keeping the ball out of her hands.
The Panthers are 5-13 this season with Wilfong the only senior starting. She won't be around when the Panthers get things xTC completely turned around, but she understands she's helping the process.
So when one of her nifty passes goes in and out of the hands of one of her younger teammates, she understands.
"I'm just trying to keep things together," she said. "I like to get everyone the ball, and sometimes it can get a little frustrating. But I know I have to do it again and again to help them get better. We're having fun, and everyone is working hard playing together."
Despite playing on more successful softball and soccer teams at North Carroll, basketball has been Wilfong's favorite sport since she first began playing rec ball in the third grade.
The chance to play with her older sister, Melissa, when she was moved up to varsity in the middle of her freshman season has been Wilfong's highlight.
"She was always on my team through middle school, and then, when she went to high school, we didn't play together for awhile," Wilfong said. "Just being able to play varsity and with my sister was fun."
North Carroll coach Greg Knill has watched her develop into a reliable point guard. When former Panthers standout Michelle Jeffery, now a senior forward at Mansfield (Pa.) University, was home for the summer, she got a chance to play with Wilfong. She left impressed.
"She told me Aubrey 'puts the ball on a dime,' " said the coach.
This season, Wilfong averages eight points a game, 3.5 assists and three rebounds. Her leadership, patience and work ethic outweigh the statistics.
"She's grown up. She came in a little naive and emotional but is now under control," he said. "Her court sense has improved, her outside shooting has improved. She's not a star player, but a good point guard who can put points up, get the ball to where it needs to be, and also play some good defense. She's had a solid career in a program that's in transition."
Wilfong says there's still work to be done.
"We're working on getting ready for the playoffs," she said. "We need to take it to the next level, and that means playing 32 minutes as a team. We want to win, play our hardest."
Knill has come to expect that from his senior.
"She's a plugger -- just keeps moving along, doing good things," he said. "Having her around for four years, I'm going to miss her a lot."
Pub Date: 2/09/97