Brandi Granger is easy to spot at Daleville girls basketball practice. First, it’s the tie-dye shirt she wears in sharp contrast to the white-and-black practice jerseys worn by her teammates.
Even when she sheds that shirt for for a practice jersey that matches, she still stands out, this time with her voice. She is quick to offer encouragement to teammates as they go through drills, and if a teammate slips out of the drill with a minor injury or ailment, Granger is sure to check on her.
The senior guard has secured her place in Daleville’s girls basketball history. Last season, she was a member of Daleville’s 15-win team, the most victories in school history. And this year, she took over the school’s career scoring record. Her career total sits at 577 points, with approximately half of her senior season remaining to pad the mark. She will lead her team against Yorktown tonight in the semifinals of the Delaware County tournament at Yorktown.
While Granger became the Broncos’ all-time leading scorer this season, it hasn’t come without difficulties. The Broncos are 2-9, a far cry from their 15-7 record last year. Four key seniors from that team graduated, leaving this year’s squad with younger, inexperienced personnel, with Granger being a holdover left to lead.
Granger is the only senior on the roster with significant varsity experience, and that has been an adjustment. Last season, while she was an important option in Daleville’s offense, opponents were also prepared for other scorers. Now, coach Jeff Wickersham says opposing coaches are making Granger a much bigger defensive priority.
Despite the added attention, she is averaging 14.5 points per game. Wickersham said that Granger has always had offensive abilities with the ball in her hands. But this season, she has been forced to work on her offensive skills without the ball, working on her movement and ability to get open.
“I can tell it’s wearing on her,” Wickersham said. “Because all the pressure’s on her. She’s the number one person on other team’s scouting reports. She knows if we’re going to score, it’s going to have to go through her. The ball’s always in her hands. I can tell it’s been a challenge. It’s been a learning process for her as well.”
But this season has also had its share of excitement. She broke the school scoring record in a victory against Wes-Del, the first win of the season. In her first three years in the program, Granger said she never thought about becoming the all-time leading scorer. But as this year began, she started to see it. She became her team’s primary scoring option, and she also continued to pass players ahead of her on the list.
“It was crazy, I was surprised that I got that far,” Granger said. “Coming from last year to this year, I didn’t see it because of how many other players we had last year. We had a post that did everything down low, so we had that scorer. And then we had Jaime Roberts, and she hit every 3 that she took. So it was kind of like we had other scorers. And this year, it’s kind of like all on me and Hannah McKinney. And a little bit in the post. But our post player is a freshman, so it’s kind of hard for her. But I didn’t see it coming this far at all. I didn’t think it would happen.”
Granger is coming off a 25-point game on Saturday, an effort that led her team to its second win of the season, this time against rival Cowan.
Granger said she’s spent this season working to instill a family-type closeness among this year’s group, something she said was a cornerstone of last year’s team. She does it in practice, when she’s sure to encourage her teammates, especially during “Billy Taylors,” conditioning drills Wickersham borrowed from the former Ball State men’s basketball coach.
And Granger also does it off the court, encouraging her teammates to spend time together outside of organized team activities. It’s a role McKinney says suits Granger’s personality. She is one of the louder voices in the room, and her energetic nature means she makes sure to go around and make jokes with all of her various teammates and make sure they all are included in the activity.
All in all, McKinney thinks Granger has handled this season’s challenges well.
“She’s risen to it, actually a lot better than anyone expected her to,” McKinney said.