Short, Pelham ready for area tourney

The Pelham Panthers are in familiar territory as they await next weekend’s Class 6A, Area 10 tournament as the No. 2 seed. They’ve been No. 2 the past two seasons.

However, senior captain Melanie Short believes something is different from before.

“I’m really excited going into area, because I don’t think our team has peaked yet this season, which makes me really optimistic of how the post season is going to go,” Short said. “We actually know our roles now and are playing them a lot better than we ever have.”

If it’s knowing their role that leads to success, then the success can be traced to a summer visit to Florida State University, where Pelham head coach Lucas McDonald and his team took a personality test.

“I think that helped him change his coaching style,” Short said. “Most of the team is orange, which is hyperactive, impulsive … It helps us to say, ‘Oh, you’re having an orange moment or you’re having a gold moment.’”

Short is a gold — the analytical mother figure. Not only is she looked to for an extra ponytail holder or snack, but for leadership and points in the paint.

“She’s exhibited tremendous leadership and has really stepped up and played well through the first part of the year,” McDonald said.

Short, who is among Pelham’s all-time top scorers with 1,257 career points through Friday, played a key role in the Panthers’ game plan last year, being asked to be the go-to player. This year, the go-to element is being shared by other captains Kelsey Burleson, Jordin Mauk and Ally Slaughter, along with Lindsey Young.

“This year I’m not worried about the points at all,” said Short, who reached the 1,000 mark in the final game of last season. “We really have a good team effort this year, better than I can’t tell you how long. I’ve quit putting pressure on myself, because it’s OK if I have a bad game.”

That gold mentality that is being developed is what gives McDonald another coach mentality on the court and what may provide Short a chance to still think Pelham basketball the last week of Februart in addition to a scholarship interview at Birmingham-Southern.