Prep girls basketball: Chin quickly develops scoring touch
Some players rely on ritual to get them ready for a game. Pairs of lucky socks, bright headbands and secret handshakes are used as tools of motivation or for that extra mental boost before taking to the court.
Brighton's Maddy Chin gave such superstitious methods a shot once.
"At one game, we all tried to wear these headbands, but everyone just got overheated," she said. "We haven't done anything since."
Besides winning, of course.
Chin and the Bengals take a no-nonsense approach to the game. It starts with the junior guard, whose unrivaled work ethic, passion and 15 points a game helped lead Brighton to a 15-6 record and a No. 2 seed in the Class 5A state tournament. The Bengals fell to Riverton in Monday's tournament opener.
"Players like [Maddy] don't grow on trees," coach Jim Gresh said. "I'm just lucky to coach someone like this. A player with her passion doesn't come around every day."
For Chin, it's a moment that's been years in the making.
Since she was 7, Chin has committed herself to the game, competing year-round and traveling out of state with competition leagues to play against the best in the nation. She's brought that experience to the Bengals, who now benefit from her basketball IQ and on-court leadership.
"She does everything she can do, 12 months out of the year, to be better," Gresh said.
Chin is the latest iteration of a long line of Brighton girls basketball stars. Her star power emerged early when she averaged more than 10 points a game to lead the team in scoring as a sophomore.
It didn't take long for opponents to catch on.
"We know now that they are going to collapse on her," Gresh said. "That's one thing we'll work on this spring, summer and fall. We'll work on adapting to that level of pressure."
That passion has helped Chin overcome more than double-team pressure.
Long before she took her first dribble, Chin struggled with knee problems involving the tendons surrounding her kneecap. She first noticed the issue at a young age while playing catcher on a recreational softball team.
"I just looked at it as something I had to get through," she said.
So she played through the pain, following the typical regimen of therapy, ice and rest to keep herself on the court. The pain eventually became too much to handle, and Chin underwent surgery to repair both knees.
None of it ever was enough to make her reconsider her sport of choice.
"I never thought of giving up basketball," she said. "I just keep playing and hope for the best."
Meet Maddy Chin
Junior guard Maddy Chin averages more than 15 points a game for the Brighton girls basketball team. She emerged as a star for the Bengals last season, averaging more than 10 points a game as a sophomore.
Chin has overcome two knee surgeries to stay on the court.
Brighton's 15-5 record was the best regular-season showing since the 2009-10 season, which resulted in a trip to the 5A quarterfinals.