Story wins Athlete of the Week

Published 9:21 pm Friday, February 23, 2024

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LaFayette is on the cusp of a title run this season, and the Bulldogs are being led by a good group of seniors. Few have stepped up to lead the team as much this season as Vaderrian “Tae” Story. 

Coming into the season, LaFayette coach Chase Lewis and the rest of the team knew what they had in Story. Story has averaged 14 points per game this season, and he has been one of LaFayette’s most reliable options on offense. 

Lewis is in his third season as LaFayette’s head coach, and Story has been there since the beginning. As soon as Lewis arrived in LaFayette, he knew that Story could be a star for the program. 

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“Tae is big for this program,” Lewis said. “Even when I first got here I remember saying, Tae is going to be the man before he walks out this door. He was one of those kids I let play a lot of B-team, he dressed on some varsity [and] he actually started some varsity games that year too. The whole time during his sophomore year playing for me, I was like, Tae is going to be the one. He’s going to be the one where, when he goes to scoring, it’s going to be hard to stop him.” 

Coming into his senior season, Story knew that he had to take his game to another level. He did that and more. It just took confidence. Story figured out quickly that he needed to be more aggressive. 

Story had the full confidence of his coaches, and he knew that he had the green light to shoot the ball anytime down the floor. Still, Story has allowed himself to grow into more than just an athlete who can score early in games. 

Story has become the go-to guy for LaFayette in crunch time. Story’s confidence grew this season, and he became as cool as a cucumber in high-pressure situations. 

“This is an underrated part, I would say my ability to keep my composure in pressurized moments,” Story said about his best ability. 

“It helped me a lot because, in the past seasons, I didn’t have that much composure. When you have composure, nothing can shake you. You can be down five, 10, 15, 20. When you’ve got that composure, you just know that you can fight back. Basketball is a game of runs.” 

Every basketball player and team comes into the season hoping for a state championship. That was no different for LaFayette, but the team’s belief in their ability to make it to that point has been the difference between hoping to make it to the championship and being on the brink of making it. 

“I really always wanted to win state,” Story said. “That’s my goal this year. This year, I actually believed that we could go really far in the state. Last year, we saw it. It was right in front of our eyes. This year, I think we have more ability on the team.” 

Story is one part of a dynamic duo that has made the engine run for LaFayette this season. Story and Deaundra Vines have become dynamic ballhandlers, scorers and defenders for the Bulldogs this season. 

Beyond just their scoring ability, Vines and Story are the team’s leaders. The two have grown to completely understand Lewis’ system and every role that goes with it. 

“That’s one thing I’ll say about both my starting guards, the way they’ve learned the system over the last three years is one of the main points why we are where we’re at,” Lewis said. “They know my system, and they know it very well. Then to be able to pass it down to Cam Thomas, Jordan Johnson and all the other guys, that’s what makes it good. They learned the system, they know how to pass it down [and] they know how to play for me.” 

LaFayette’s team has become a contender in 2A, but their rise started over the summer. While most kids were inside resting, the Bulldogs were at playdates and even spending the night in the gym. 

All that work and time together has created an unbreakable bond. The team is tighter than ever and the product speaks for itself. 

“It grew tremendously,” Story said about the team’s bond. “We spend basically every second of the day together.” 

Story has come a long way since he started playing basketball, but the job is not finished yet. Story and the rest of LaFayette know that winning two more games would set them apart from many other great players and teams over the course of history. 

“I can’t leave high school without a ring,” Story said. “We’ve been working for it all summer.”