Wilson’s Lasher lightens mood, while helping win games
Emily Lasher is a leader in every sense of the word. A junior captain on the Wilson Lakewomen basketball team, Lasher isn’t just putting up dazzling numbers that have helped her team rocket to the top of the Niagara-Orleans League.
She’s been the embodiment of a perfect teammate and what it means to be a family when you all put on the same uniform.
“In a way, I always try to set an example for the younger girls because that’s how I am as a captain now,” she said. “I watched the older girls throughout my years and watched how they acted. I’ve taken note of what they’ve done and I’m doing that now. And I’m hoping that’s what the (younger) girls will do when they become a captain.”
Averaging 12 points, 8.5 rebounds, 4.2 steals and 3.1 assists per game this season, Lasher’s numbers are certainly putting a smile on the face of Lakewomen’s coach Brian Baker. But what really makes Baker the happiest is when he talks about Lasher the person.
“She has a certain spunk to her, she’s one of a kind,” Baker said. “She’s a fun kid to coach. She brings a lot of personality to the group. She brings a lot of laughter to the team and she’s there in stressful times. She’s the one that usually says something to lighten the mood and make sure everybody is relaxed.”
Make no mistake, few girls on the court take the game as seriously or try as hard as does Lasher.
The time she spent in tournaments during the offseason with her AAU team, the Buffalo Defenders, is proof of Lasher’s dedication to improving her game.
But at the end of the day she also brings the intangible of being able to keep it relaxed and fun, while reminding teammates of the ultimate goal — to win.
“I really get along with my team. I get along with all of the girls, but sometimes the stress of how long the season really gets to us and we just kind of fall apart at times,” Lasher said. “For how hard we work at basketball, sometimes you have to put a little humor in it to keep it fun and exciting.”
A sense of humor that more often than not has Baker laughing louder than anyone else.
“She’s definitely one of a kind. Sometimes I look at her and I say ‘come on Lash you gotta pay attention. Everything’s not a joke.’ Then when I’m saying that I find myself laughing at what she was saying,” Baker said with a chuckle. “I’m trying to be serious but some of the stuff she brings to the table is just so funny.
“It puts a good spin on practice sometimes when things are maybe not going so well or in a game when things aren’t going so well,” he added. “She’s just there to pick everybody up.”
In Lasher’s eyes, putting everyone in a comfort zone where they all feel welcome and cared about is the key to building a tight team bond.
“You just have to make a point to get to know the team so that you can do the little things like that to make their day better and make them feel better about being with the team,” she said. “Because it really is all about the team.
“And if you’re team isn’t close during basketball season for those five months that’s a long time to be with people you don’t like,” she added. “So even if you’re not best friends you have to make it work and let them know you’re there for them no matter what.”
While cultivating a tight bond among her teammates is obviously a captains duty, it’s not why Lasher does the kind things she does. The kind, caring way she interacts with every girl in the program comes naturally. There’s nothing fake about her.
On Jan. 25 when the Lakewomen were facing Roy-Hart, eighth-grader Rachel Senek sustained an injury during the junior varsity game. As Senek sat on the bench, Lasher made a point of going over to check on her.
Later that night, Lasher’s best friend, Jamie Curry, got banged up and had to exit the varsity game in the third quarter. Same thing. Lasher was by her friend’s side in a heartbeat.
Lasher then went on to set the tone for Wilson’s victory.
“That’s just good to see when you can display yourself as a family,” said Baker. “When someone gets knock down on the floor, we have four girls running over to pick them up and it’s usually Emily leading the charge.”