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Athlete of the Week: North Davidson's Caitlin Mize

North Davidson's Caitlin Mize is The Dispatch Athlete of the Week. (Photo by Donnie Roberts/The Dispatch)

Most basketball teams have a pair of go-to players and the North Davidson girls are no exception. Lauren Ramsey and Taylor Darrow have combined to score 58 percent of the Black Knights’ points this season.

But with basketball being a team game, others have to their part, too.

Caitlin Mize, a 5-foot-9 junior forward, came off the bench Friday against Ledford and contributed greatly to the Knights’ 52-49 win. Mize scored eight points — including 6-for-6 from the free throw line — and helped limit Ledford’s leading scorer, Courtney Callicutt, to two points. Mize is averaging 2.6 points a game, so the offense helped give the Knights a jolt.

In Mize’s words, it’s all about having the right mindset.

“I just think I have to do the best that I can,” Mize said. “I try not to think about messing up because I have two really great players on our team. I need to be as good as they are. So I try to think I’m as good as they are and work as hard as I can and not think I’m going to mess up.”

With the Knights facing a much tougher challenge from the Panthers than in their 70-46 blowout to open the season, Mize’s effort gave the team a boost.

“Yes, she did,” said North coach Kendra Puckett. “It’s what I’ve been telling them. Others have got to step up besides Lauren and Taylor.”

Mize had season highs of 10 points and 10 assists in North’s 51-35 win over Central Davidson on Dec. 27 in the NewBridge Bank Christmas Classic tournament.

But the game on Friday was a lot closer.

Callicutt had come into the game having averaged 18.7 points in her last three games. But she couldn’t shake defenders like Mize.

“I just try to stay low and since I have long arms I try to stay as wide as I can to look bigger,” Mize said.

Free throws are often a challenge for high school players but Mize swished all six of hers against Ledford.

“I think it’s all a mind game,” she said. “In your mind, you have to believe you can make them. Keep working on it. Believe you can make them.”

Mize twice hit a pair of free throws after Ledford cut North’s lead to one in the second half.

“She came out, she played great defense for us, boxed out and got some rebounds,” Puckett said. “Down the stretch, I felt those free throws were clutch.”

Mike Duprez can be reached at 249-3981, ext. 218 or Follow Mike on Twitter: @LexDispatch_md