SPRINGFIELD — When the Effingham County girls’ basketball team takes the floor, it doesn’t take long to notice De’ja House.
The senior guard is averaging nine points a game along with seven rebounds. Her opponents tend to underestimate her small frame but she frequently makes them pay with strong drives to the basket.
Against South Effingham recently, she scored 20 points with ease.
“I seem to get in my head a lot,” House said. “When I mess up, it’s all mental. When I do start going, I’m feeling myself.
“Once I start going, it’s over.”
House was introduced to basketball by her parents in elementary school. The two-sport athlete admitted the hardwood is her happy place.
House’s pace on the court resembles her stride on the track where she competes in a number of events — including the triple jump, the 400-meter dash, 4x100-relay and the 4x400 relay
“I take track more serious, but I have the most fun in basketball,” House said.
The Lady Rebels are a scrappy basketball bunch but it has been difficult year. Still, House is looking beyond their 4-20 record and focusing on finishing the season on a high note.
“I just realized the season is about to end,” she said. “It’s crazy to me. It went by so fast. It’s bittersweet.
“I’d love to play in the state playoffs. That’s the ultimate (goal).”
House credits first-year head coach Patrick McClure for her development on the court.
“He has definitely given me more confidence,” she said. “He believes in me way more. He’s always trying to motivate me. That helped me a lot.
“I feed off that.”
And with more experience comes more responsibilities. House is enjoying her role as a leader, although she is still working on the right way to communicate with her teammates.
“At times, I don’t want to come off as rude or controlling,” she said. “Sometimes I don’t want to come off too harsh. I feel like I’m the most outspoken senior.
“I try to dial it down a little bit.”
Despite the lumps they’ve taken, House is enjoying the connection with her teammates.
“Everybody looks to us — the seniors, in general,” House said. “It feels like a family. I’ve never felt that way on any other team I’ve been on. We call can joke around but we know when it’s time to get serious.
“I don’t have anybody at home with me because my sisters are older. (Within the team) there is somebody I can go to and there’s a bond we have.”