By JOSH RIZZO
Herald-Whig Sports Writer
MENDON, Ill. -- Pickup games between West Hancock senior Madison Harmon and her twin brother Paxton were a staple when they were kids. Many of the early games ended when things got too rough.
Later they ended because of maturation. Paxton grew into a 6-foot-5 inch all-state forward, giving him an advantage over 5-7 Madison.
"We tried, until I pinched or fouled a little bit," Madison said. "Then it would get dirty. We had to give up on that when he grew an extra two feet taller than me."
While her brother has earned numerous accolades, Madison forged her own identity by doing the little things. The Lady Titans point guard is a distributor who leads a balanced offense. In four of West Hancock's first six games, the Lady Titans had a different leading scorer.
Harmon is averaging 5.3 points, 4.3 assists and 4.1 steals per game during West Hancock's 3-3 start.
Madison is the lone senior on the roster and her leadership has been noticed by West Hancock coach Adam Brumbaugh.
"There's been a huge change in Madison this year," Brumbaugh said. "She's always been a leader on the court, she's always led by example. She is always first in every drill and always first in our conditioning.
"This year she's taking it to the next level instead of pointing out mistakes of her teammates, she will pull them aside and talk to them. Show them by example and teach them, she takes it almost as assistant coach where she's teaching instead of barking out the shortcomings of her teammates."
Overseeing a shift in the Lady Titans' offense has been her toughest challenge. Instead of trying to beat teams from beyond the arc, West Hancock is now trying to funnel the ball into the post.
With 6-foot sophomore Keaghan Shacklett and 5-10 sophomore Alexis Dooley, the Lady Titans have several options underneath.
"We're missing Jacey (Hartweg) who made a lot of our outside shots," Madison said. "Now, it's more of packing it in the paint with Lexi and Keaghan. Instead of relying on outside shooting, we're going down in the paint and it's different."
Brumbaugh also asks Madison to take tough defensive assignments.
"Defensively, she's our bulldog," Brumbaugh said. "It doesn't matter if their best player is a point guard or a 6-1 post, if she thinks she gives our team the best chance of guarding that person or shutting them down."
As the season goes along, Madison hopes to develop into more of a scoring threat.
If for no other reason than to stay competitive with her brother.
"(Tuesday), he has a basketball game at Fort Madison and I was like ‘Your goal is to score 40 points,'" Madison said. "Because he hasn't struck that mark yet. He said (my) goal is to reach my career high, which would be 18. We have a little competition and it's fun."