New Oxford senior Trevor Floyd discusses the team's 61-29 win over Bermudian on Tuesday. Floyd is back on the court after missing a few weeks with an injury. Matt Allibone
Quinton Nace is used to being the focus of opposing defenses.
For the second straight season, the Bermudian Springs senior is the top scorer on a team at the bottom of the YAIAA Division III standings. Without much offensive talent around him, Nace is routinely double-teamed and still forced to take a bulk of his team's shots.
That can be extremely challenging on some nights, like Tuesday, when Nace was held to nine points by a tall and talented New Oxford team in a 61-29 loss. The 6-foot-3 swingman entered the contest ninth in the league in scoring at 18.1 points per game.
But scoring might not even be the best aspect of Nace's game. The senior is also Bermudian Springs top rebounder and defender, and he even occasionally plays point guard.
"He's a key cog in those three areas," Bermudian Springs head coach Tom Flaherty said. "We ask him to do everything on offense. We need him to lead guys, set guys up, bring the ball up the floor sometimes, and then he guards the best guy."
While Nace has excelled individually the past two seasons — he averaged 13.8 points last year — he hasn't been a part of many wins. The Eagles finished 4-18 last season and are currently 1-6 and in last place in Division III.
The losses have been tough to swallow, but Nace's demeanor rarely changes. A soft-spoken player who leads by example, Nace calmly pointed out instructions to his teammates on many possessions Tuesday night against New Oxford, even with the Eagles trailing by double-digits in the second half.
As Flaherty puts it, that's just who Nace is. While Bermudian Springs is rebuilding, Nace is determined to not let that ruin what is left of his final season.
"Each game we've got to learn to get better, because every time you step on the floor you either get better or worse," Nace said. "We're trying to get better. Every game has its positives and you've got to focus on those to keep going."
Nace may be staying positive, but he's also trying to improve his game. A guard most of his life, he's been relied on to play in the paint this season after he grew two inches and gained 15 pounds in the offseason. It hasn't been easy battling with forwards in the post every night, but Nace has embraced it.
Flaherty said he hopes more players start learning from Nace's example. It was just three seasons ago that Bermudian went 22-5, and the Eagles will have to develop more players capable of excelling in multiple roles if they want to get back to that level.
Nace may be gone by the time Bermudian starts winning again, but his head coach is happy to have him now.
"He's willing to do what he has to do for the team to be successful," Flaherty said. "He's stepping in and taking charges. And other guys are starting to take a more prominent role, but it all starts with him."