Ziy Conner becoming a leader for Independence girls basketball

Ziy Conner Independence

At the Independence High Gym, seniors are honored on the gym wall, but there aren’t that many basketball players on the wall this year.

“It’s kind of tough replacing all the veteran leadership,” head coach John Zilla said.

Zilla said goodbye to six seniors last year, and only one senior is on the team this year.

“That’s kind of tough having someone come up and take your place,” Zilla said.

But somebody was able to rise to the occasion.

“The players kind of feed off her energy,” Zilla said.

Ziy Conner leads her team in scoring and leads the state in rebounds. Her gameplan to get that many boards isn’t too complicated.

“I just jump, I guess,” she said with a laugh.

While that plan may be simple, Ziy has a more detailed strategy to keep her young team together.

“If they miss a shot I say come on, you’ve got this. We have to get back on defense and pick it up,” she said.

Ziy is one of a few juniors and one senior who helps rally their young team.

“I have to keep my team’s head up,” she said. “I’m more of the energetic and I like to make everyone smile, and I want to keep everyone’s head up.”

“I think it kind of gave them the energy to say ‘hey we’re going to be better than what people think, and I think so far we’ve been able to do that,” Zilla said.

Because even though the team is young, Ziy won’t let her squad be slept on.

“That’s our goal, to win every game we can,” Conner said.

Independence next plays at Whitehall on Friday night.