Inside Pinecrest Academy’s gym are dozens of green plaques, all adorned with names of former Paladins who put their stamp on the school’s athletic history.
Seemingly on every other one there’s a Metz. Football. Basketball. Wrestling. The list goes on.
Ask Margaret Metz about either one of them and she’ll crack a slight grin and sneak in an eye-roll. Obviously, she’s used to the inquiry.
“I’ve got 10 siblings. Five older and five younger,” she recites as if she’s said it over 1,000 times in her life. “I’m the middle child.”
Margaret, a senior on the Lady Paladins’ basketball team, has a unique role in her family’s totem-pole of brothers and sisters. She takes responsibility as an extra parent, of sorts, with her five younger siblings that include her two sisters—Regina, a junior on the team, and Teresa, who has also taken up basketball in middle school.
On the other end of the spectrum she sees her much older brothers — most in or out of college — as a group she can relax with. But that’s not how it always used to be.
Everything in the Metz household has been what Margaret calls “fierce competition,” which included races up the stairs and battles at the pool on hot summer days. The backyard has always been a playground, somewhere where each sibling would jockey for their place in the group. It’s not Lord of the Flies by any stretch, but Margaret is first to admit her competitive nature came from being the first girl in a group of guys.
“It’s definitely where my aggression comes from,” she laughs.
It’s controlled aggression. Healthy aggression, and aggression that has made her a stellar basketball player. Last season, as a junior she finished second in the county in scoring with a 23.4 points per game and was named to the Region 6-A first team. But Pinecrest just missed the postseason, adding tons of motivation for her senior season.
Margaret finds the basketball court a place that’s easy to understand and control. After all, playing on a team of just eight girls is nothing to sharing a household with over a dozen people. Margaret also simplifies things as much as she can, arriving early to practice on most occasions to practice her shooting and ball handling—things that she can control.
“With only eight players we can’t even run five on five in practice, so we get excited for games just because that’s our only chance to do that,” Metz said.
Excitement for the game of basketball is a key component to Metz status as one of two seniors.
“I like to think being a team leader and setting the tone is a big part of success,” Metz said. “Recently we had a practice at like 7 a.m. on a Saturday. I remember waking up and going out there and just thinking, ‘Why am I doing this,’ but as soon as I get into the gym I am wide awake, running around. I just love the game. I can’t wait for practice on most days.”
So far this season the Lady Paladins are 4-1, hoping that health and experience will get them over the hump this season. Metz thinks being on a smaller team has helped the girls become versatile and well-conditioned. They like to try and run the other team off the floor.
“I think for us we just have to make sure we’re always working. That during games we’re all going 100 percent, never stopping,” Metz said.
Where does that type of mentality come from?
“My family,” she laughs again. “Definitely, definitely my family.”