New coach, same philosophy.
Get the ball in the middle to Sidney Veatch, and let her dominate on the boards.
That’s what Southmont girls’ basketball game-plan was this past season and it paid off with a 12-5 record, including a 10-0 start.
For a second-straight season Veatch averaged double-figures, including 13.5 points per game and 7.9 rebounds per game — which followed a double-double average her junior season. Veatch scored 498 points in two seasons of varsity basketball at Southmont.
The senior earned a repeat as the Journal Review Girls Basketball Player of the Year in 2020-21.
It didn’t come easy though — after becoming a double-double machine as a junior — Veatch received a lot more attention from opposing teams this season.
“I definitely think that other teams put more of a target on me and I did notice it a lot,” she said. “I just tried to contribute in different ways or work harder to move the ball around. Trying to contribute in other ways than scoring.”
The Mounties posted a 13-11 record in 2019-20, but when Dan Burkman filled the head coaching vacancy in October — the players noticed one glaring difference.
“He did hold high expectations of us,” Veatch said of her coach. “The first day he came in he said ‘I’m here to make you guys a winning team,’ and I think that kind of intimidated us a little bit, but also pushed us to meet those standards and to execute what he had planned for us.”
Burkman knew the talent he had and relied on his best player to lead the way.
“I knew Sidney was a key ingredient for our success,” Burkman said. “I think too many times, coaches, parents want to fix things for young people. I was in the mindset to see how she responds and adjust my coaching accordingly. The way Sidney stepped up at the end of the season was not due to any coaching but due to Sidney’s drive to be successful and competitive.”
Veatch had five double-doubles, reached double-figures in scoring 13 times and shot 50% from the field.
“I know Sidney’s statistics speak for themselves,” Burkman added. “However, Sidney played a lot bigger role than just stuffing the stat sheet. She was a leader, and her ever present happiness took over in all she did. When Sidney is happy, she really flourished, and that had a direct effect on the entire team. Contributing to the positive atmosphere and willing to do whatever it took are characteristics that made her shine.”
The biggest surprise, maybe more so to Sidney than everyone else, continues to be her breakout junior and senior seasons after missing her sophomore year due to injury. The IUPUI volleyball commit pours her heart and soul into the game of volleyball, but it doesn’t mean she didn’t dedicate time to basketball as well.
“I never saw it coming,” Veatch said of the success. “I don’t know if it was because I had missed out on that season and was like ‘okay, I’m going to have to do this now,’ or what, but was honestly a surprise to me. After my junior year I was thinking to myself ‘maybe I should put a little more effort in and I might be able to do a little more and had that mindset going into last summer.’”
And her coach took notice from the early going.
“I figured out quickly that Sidney was a great athlete and competitor,” Burkman said. “I did not really ask Sidney to do anything special and wanted her to get comfortable with the new things at her own pace, but wanted to let her natural ability set the pace.
“God given talent will only get a person so far. The way Sidney came back from missing her sophomore season is a testament to her drive and competitive spirit. Sidney strives to be the best, and her perseverance to overcome a serious injury has paid off for her.”
And it’s likely Veatch’s greatest accomplishments are still in front of her.
2021 Girls Basketball All-Area
Olivia Reed — CHS
Dakota Borman — FC
Addison Charles — SM
Natalie Manion — SM
Sidney Veatch — SM
Shea Williamson — CHS
Larissa Bowers — FC
Jerzi Hershberger — FC
Madi Welch — NM
Katie Rice — NM