Running Point: Sydney Parrish
HSE Senior Sydney Parrish Is Leaving a Legacy In the Game She Loves
Photographer / Brian Brosmer
“That’s the main goal,” she says.
Last season, Parrish led HSE to a 27-1 overall record and the school’s first IHSAA Girls Basketball 4A State Championship, no small feat. Along the way, Parrish averaged 21 points, 6.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.9 steals and 1 block per game. In the state championship game, she put up 30 points and 10 rebounds to clinch the title over Lawrence North High School.
Last year’s performance also earned Parrish the Gatorade Player of the Year Award for girls basketball. While those accomplishments are great, she says, it’s not something she has too much time to focus on right now.
“Winning state, of course, was a huge deal,” she says. “But we can’t look back at our season last year, we are focused on this year and getting there again. We have been taking it one game at a time and, hopefully, will be playing all through February and get back to the state championship.”
Parrish is certainly doing her part to help the team repeat.
As of mid-January, the 6’2” senior guard is averaging 26.3 points, 2.2 assists, 7.4 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game. Last November, Parrish broke the HSE girls basketball scoring record, eclipsing the 1,374 point mark set by Taya Reimer in 2013. Right before the New Year, she passed Zach Gunn for HSE’s all-time scoring record.
The records, she says, are incredible accomplishments and probably something she will be able to reflect on more after her high school career ends. For now, Parrish is focused on getting even better.
“For me, personally, I want to be a better leader this year,” Parrish adds. “Last year, I wasn’t a huge leader as a junior. That is something I am focused on this year, being a leader on and off the court and being the best teammate I can be. Being a senior helps, when some of the younger players look up to you.”
Parrish, ranked as a Top 10 national player according to ESPN, profiles as a guard. She typically runs the offense as point guard for HSE. In recent years, she has been scouted as a shooter, something she says was not always the case in her game.
“Playing point guard has developed my game and being able to handle the ball under pressure,” she says. “I am getting in the post more, too. My post play has evolved a lot. Growing up, I was never really a great shooter. But then people started tagging me as a shooter.”
That shooter tagline hasn’t come without hard work. Parrish is a bit of a gym rat. Prior to practice, after practice, even, sometimes, on the weekends, she can be found in the gym getting up extra shots.
“I just try to get in as many extra shots as I can,” she says. “Getting those extra reps in really helps me prepare for when it is game time.”
At 6’2”, Parrish is one of the taller guards handling the ball in the IHSAA. That growth spurt, she says, started around eighth grade. Ever since then, she hasn’t looked back.
Growing up, Parrish also played soccer and swam. But she grew to love basketball rather quickly.
“I quit soccer and swimming around sixth grade,” she says. “I really focused on basketball as my main sport then. By eighth grade, I knew I wanted to play high school ball and beyond. I’m really competitive, so I think that competitive drive on the basketball court drew me to it. There is just something special about this game, for me, that separated it from other sports.”
Of course, it helps that Parrish grew up in a basketball family as well. Parrish’s dad, Shawn, played high school ball at Owen Valley High School in Spencer, Indiana, and in college at Ball State University. Her mother, Aimee, played at the collegiate level as well with Valparaiso University.
Both her parents, she says, have made a huge impact on her own basketball career.
“My family has been unbelievably supportive,” Parrish says. “My dad has always been like a coach growing up. I’ve always had him there through everything, and he knows my game really well. My grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles, mom, everyone is always at the games supporting me. They believe in me, and I can’t thank them enough for that.”
While Parrish is focused on her senior season, she is also excited about the future of her basketball career. Last April, she officially committed to play at the University of Oregon under head women’s basketball coach Kelly Graves.
“I am so excited to play at Oregon,” she says. “The bond I saw that the coaches and players had with one another was a big factor. They are all really close with one another and you could see it on the floor whether they were playing in a game or practicing. It just felt right. I wanted to go to a winning program and they’ve become one of the top teams in the nation.”
Ultimately, Parrish says, pro-ball would be a dream and is a goal she is working towards.
“I absolutely want to play professionally,” she says. “If that is the WNBA, then great, but even if it were overseas, I would at least want to play for a couple of years. I love this sport that much and definitely want to stay in it for a little while.”
With her senior year coming to a close and college on the way, Parrish is certainly set up to continue leaving a legacy in the game she loves.