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Time is now for Tonawanda’s Baughman

As Savanna Baughman watched the bulk of last season’s action from the bench, she kept hearing the magic words ­— don’t worry, your time will come. That time has arrived.

Baughman, a junior in her second full season of girls varsity basketball, has emerged as one of Tonawanda’s breakout stars.

But it was a somewhat long journey for Baughman. After spending her freshman season on the junior varsity, Baughman had grown use to being a starter and playing a great deal of quality minutes.

But when Baughman arrived on varsity, she was behind seniors Tina Partridge and Kendra O’Connor on the depth chart, which meant she had to wait her turn.

Though it was essentially a numbers game at the time, as Baughman reflects on last season she candidly admitted that the lack of playing bruised her ego a bit and had her second guessing her ability.

But the simple words, ‘your time will come,’ helped her find the patience to stay focused.

“It was really important to me (to hear those words), especially for the fact that I was kind of putting myself down because I didn’t really get to play that much,” Baughman said. “It was upsetting to me because I went from playing all the time (on JV) to not playing at all last year. But when they told me to be patient and that my time will come, it helped me out a lot.”

An honest heart to heart talk with coach Jay Hall helped Baughman realize that she was indeed playing just fine. It was simply a case of the more experienced Partridge and O’Connor getting the bulk of time as the Warriors marched towards the program’s first ever league title.

“At first, I was second guessing myself,” Baughman explained. “I kept asking myself what am I doing wrong? I’m trying to improve myself everyday and I’m still not getting that much playing time. But our team was great. We had a great group of girls and Tina and Kendra obviously made a really big impact on our team. I just opened my eyes and finally realized hey, I’ll get my time next year.”

Baughman said that once Hall told her she was progressing nicely, she was able to breathe a sigh of relief and continue making the most of the time she got on the floor.

But what really made an impact was that as Baughman was still trying to make sense of her place on the team, she received consistent, positive reinforcement from her dad, Jim Connolly, who also told her that he time would come.

Hall said knowing that Savanna was receiving the same, positive message at home supporting what he was telling her at the gym was crucial in helping Baughman stay on course..

“The good thing is we had really supportive parents,” Hall said appreciatively. “Her father would tell her all the time, ‘bide your time. You’ve got to learn.’ He wasn’t a parent that said my daughter should be playing. He knew she was behind some quality centers last year and that her time would come this year.”

Having worked her way into the starting lineup this year, Baughman has without question been a force and proven her worth with Player of the Game honors in wins over Barker and North Tonawanda.

Baughman had 10 rebounds and four steals against Barker, but it was her performance against the rival Jacks in which Baughman truly made her mark. She notched 10 points and seven rebounds, and stood toe-to-toe with Kali Marsh, N-T’s 6-foot center. Though Marsh is bigger and stronger, Baughman hung tough and was key in containing Marsh in the Warriors 40-30 win.

“That was really important to me,” Baughman said. “That was one of my best games so far this year. And it just felt great to be able to do that (against) a more experienced player who is bigger than me.”

While points are certainly a bonus, tough defense in the paint is top priority for Buaghman right now.

The time spent watching and practicing with Partridge and O’Connor have certainly paid off for Baughman, just like her patience paid off, too.

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