Being a team's focus can be stressful, but for Hopewell senior Shareé Boyd, it's business as usual.
With Hopewell losing two of its top three scorers, Hannah Early and Hunter Meakin, along with three other team members in the graduating class, Boyd is now expected to lead her Lady Titans on the court.
She insists that the extra pressure isn't getting to her.
"It's just a new surrounding," said Boyd. "I have to get used to playing with people younger than me because I've always played with older players. ... They showed me the ropes, so now I have to do the same."
Hopewell coach Gary Richmond said Boyd has done a good job of making that transition.
"She's been spoiled for three years," said Richmond. "She didn't have to be the player because we had other people for us to score. She now has to be the player every game."
Boyd has the skill set to lead her team in most statistical categories, being considered as one of the top basketball players in the area. The 6-foot off guard has the speed and size to cause match-up problems for opponents, whether she's playing outside or in the post.
Known as a slasher who's constantly looking to attack the basket, Boyd, who's averaging nearly 14 points and seven rebounds per game through the first four games of the year, says she's put a lot of work on improving the accuracy of her jump shot.
She's also hit the weight room, trying to get stronger - knowing that she would need to play at the post more this year, she said.
Although Boyd is still more comfortable playing at her natural off-guard spot, she still sees a lot of playing time at several positions - from point guard to power forward. But she doesn't mind.
"I just want to help the team in any way I can," the 18-year-old said.
The three-time all-conference selection also worked on her overall fitness, knowing that she'll be asked to barely come off the court.
"I had to get in the right condition if I wanted to take this team where I want to take it," said Boyd. "I still feel that we're a big force in Charlotte. I don't think we had any type of drop-off whatsoever."
There is potential on the Titans' roster.
Richmond said Boyd, his step-daughter, needs help from her teammates for the Titans, who started the year 2-2 after going a combined 48-9 and reaching at least the 4A sectional finals the past two years, to return to form.
"They can't stand around and watch her," said Richmond. "We have to have three players in double figures. ... If a team only has one good player, you can take her away."
Bryanna Curry has shown she can be one of those players in her new starting role. The sophomore forward was averaging 12 points per game heading into the Dec. 2 game against East Mecklenburg.
Junior Bria Washington, the only other player to have scored in double figures early in the season, when she scored 11 against Salisbury, could also help the team at guard.
Returning center Tierra Burks has not been able to play as many minutes as the coaching staff wants because she is dealing with some knee problems. So it's up to the newcomers to also stand up, said Richmond.
First Assembly transfer T'Shea Glenn, a senior point guard, also has potential with her ability to push the ball. If she's able to play her position efficiently, it should allow Boyd to play at her natural position more, which could boost her scoring.
With so much youth on the team, Boyd hopes the Lady Titans will improve as they embark on the rest of their season, so she can finish her high school career strong.
"Once we get the nerves out," she said. "I think we'll be hard to beat."