Sidney Veatch sat on the sidelines for her entire sophomore basketball season. She had already budded as a star for the Southmont volleyball team in the fall of 2018, but her potential for the Mountie girls basketball program was unknown.
Veatch was itching to return to the hardwood, but once she finally did, what happened very few saw coming. “During the previous season when I was hurt, sitting and watching during practice and every single game was killing me,” she said. “I wanted to be on the court with my friends so bad. I was chomping at the bit to get back, but I knew I had to wait and let my body heal and do its thing.” When Veatch finally did return to the court last summer, she did everything she could to get her basketball skill set back. “Her effort and work ethic was tremendous coming back from injury,” Southmont coach Dustin Oakley said. “We never had to get on her as a coaching staff due to the lack of these two things. She brings it every day and super competitive in everything she does on and off the court. Last summer, we just wanted to ease her back into skill development and drills to get her comfortable and a better feel for her game for when we went to play in summer games. Towards the end of June, she was playing a lot more minutes in the summer games and making a bigger impact for us.” Once the season arrived, the rest was history. Veatch averaged 11.4 points per game and 10.7 rebounds per game, helping the Mounties to a 13-10 record, their first winning season since 2017. Those efforts have earned the Southmont junior the 2020 Journal Review Girls Basketball Player of the Year honors voted on by area coaches and media. While very few expected both Veatch’s and the Mounties’ success, Oakley had always seen the potential. “I always knew she could be this special,” he said. “She has a different mindset than most athletes when it comes to competition and she cares a lot about her teammates. She wants to be successful and wants people around her to be successful. The thing that separates her from most athletes is her consistent positive attitude.” Veatch says she is often left speechless with the amount of success she had this past season, but found herself realizing how good she could be fairly early in the year. “I think the moment that stands out in my mind the most is that after our first game against Tri-West, coach Oakley pulled me aside and said he was so impressed with how much I had improved and he was honestly speechless with what I put out on the court. That made me want to work even harder for my team and him as well and show him that I could do even more.” Veatch was later named to the Sugar Creek Classic all-tournament team, and helped the Mounties to a county title with wins over North Montgomery and Crawfordsville. Southmont won seven straight games following Christmas. It was all thanks to Veatch and her fellow post player Belle Miller clicking with each other and the rest of the team. “We knew our strength as a team were our bigs for being a 2A program,” Oakley said. “We have been fortunate with size over the years with Marlowe McVay, Lilly Ward and now these two young ladies. We wanted to develop our guards more to feed the post. We wanted to play inside-out. We tried to stress to the guards that if we could get the bigs going early, then that would open the perimeter game for them. We spent a lot of practice time to help our guards and bigs develop their games.” Southmont led the Sagamore Conference in rebounding, as Miller, just a sophomore, added 8.9 points and 7.3 rebounds per game, joining Veatch on the Journal Review all-area team. “I feel as if I added more height for my team along with Belle Miller who I click with really well and we read each other well on the court,” Veatch said. “It was good to have had some taller ‘bigs’ and have more diversity with height and different abilities on the court. I think my team had a big impact on how we played this season though and helped everyone be successful. We all play as a team and wanted to play for each other.” Veatch said her development as a post player runs back to her freshman season playing on the junior varsity for Brad Case, and the belief from her coaches has always been there. “All of my coaches have always pushed me to be the best I can be,” she said. “Freshman year when I played JV for Coach Case he taught me everything I needed to know about being strong and big in the paint, and this year he kind of re-taught me that after being out and losing some of those skills. Coach Oakley has always believed in me and has always told me I would get to this point and have the success I have had today.” Veatch has already committed to IUPUI for volleyball, but now basketball has emerged as a contending sport for her time, effort and improvement as an athlete. “I never really thought that I would have similar types of success in basketball as I did volleyball. I put so much time and effort into volleyball with playing club, taking lessons and playing school. Basketball was always just a way to keep me in shape, be around my friends and to keep me busy,” she said. “I now look at it very differently, especially after this year. I know that I have more potential than I think I do and can now focus on making myself even better for my upcoming senior season. I feel like these two sports have gone hand in hand with developing me as an athlete by developing my mental game as well as physical. They have both taught me that you can’t half do anything and expect to have an amazing outcome.” Veatch has put herself into an elite category as a Southmont athlete, and the best is likely yet to come. A repeat as sectional champions in volleyball? An even more impressive season on the hardwood? Only time will tell. Journal Review 2020 Girls Basketball All-Area Team First Team Lauren Kellerman — Crawfordsville Shea Williamson — Crawfordsville Dakota Borman — Fountain Central Katie Rice – North Montgomery Belle Miller — Southmont Sidney Veatch — Southmont POY Second Team Maddie Moseley — North Montgomery Madi Welch — North Montgomery Addi Charles — Southmont Natalie Manion – Southmont