One can forgive Lacy Asdourian for the moments when she is puzzled about how she has emerged as the long girl on a high school boys basketball team.
Entering her junior season, Asdourian anticipated being the star of the girls basketball team at Redding (Cal.) Liberty Christian School. A talented multi-sport athlete, she was ready for the responsibility that would come from leading the team. Then, just days into tryouts, her team was scrapped due to a lack of numbers. Of the four players from the planned girls basketball team who had stuck around through the first few practices before the team was cut, only Asdourian seemed disconsolate about losing basketball.
Seeing her passion for the game, Liberty Christian’s athletic director Todd Franklin asked her to show up at a boys practice. According to MaxPreps and a handful of other profiles of Asdourian, after a few days, Franklin presented her with three options: giving up on basketball, transferring to another school which featured girls basketball or playing with the boys, who are coached by Franklin himself.
After three tortuous weeks debating those options, Asdourian selected option 3 and promptly began suiting up with the Liberty Christian boys. The results have been impressive, both for Asdourian and the team. The lone female member of the Patriots squad is a rock as their point guard, a keen distributor of the ball and tough defender who has helped set the tone for the Patriots in key games.
“I think it should be saved for unique cases," Franklin told MaxPreps. "I don’t think we would suggest it no matter how talented a girl may be. Like even a Brittney Griner from Baylor. It’s important to let kids play on their separate teams and to let them experience basketball.
“She’s a good kid stuck in a tough spot and she is making the most of it. She is going to have a phenomenal senior year because of it.”
Thanks in large part to Asdourian’s decision, Liberty Christian has rolled to one of its more memorable seasons in recent years, racking up a 17-7 record as a likely Division V playoff squad.
Throughout the process Asdourian has earned plenty of plaudits and peculiar looks simply for trotting on the floor with a ponytail. The junior claims that the attention goes against her personal nature, but her ability to help drive Liberty has made it hard not to notice her.
“It’s how my personality is. I would rather blend in,” Asdourian told MaxPreps. “It’s the boys’ season and I don’t want to take anything away from them by getting extra attention. I’ve never liked being the center of attention.
“I wanted to stay at Liberty because I’ve been here since kindergarten and it’s in my comfort zone. My parents still wanted me to play because I’ve always been involved with a sport. I just wanted to be involved.”
Clearly, she’s not only stayed at Liberty; she’s thrived, and helped bring her teammates even closer together by being a part of a very close-knit unit.
“It's been very good for them. In our society, we have lost a little of how to treat women like ladies. These guys have done a good job of being gentlemen and standing up for her,” Franklin said. “I said treat her like your sister. She gets fouled and one of my kids wants to go punch the guy. So then it was treat her like she’s my daughter. They are learning how to practice with her. It's been good for our guys.
“In practice she is not treated any differently at all defensively or offensively.”