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Henley stands out on the court for the Panthers

By Griff Servati
Van Alstyne Leader
Nathan Henley brings the ball up.

Nathan Henley might not be the most intimidating guy when the Panther basketball takes the court for warm ups, but things change when the ball is in play.  Henley said of his size, "I've always been the smallest guy on the court/field, but I've learned if you work hard and want it bad enough, nothing can stop you."     

    The very senior point guard for the Van Alstyne Panthers is making his mark on the season using his speed and ball-handling skills to break down opponents' defenses and score or, more likely, get it to his teammates for their opportunity to finish. 

    Nathan has played basketball all of his life, dating back to VASA youth league basketball to club basketball. His other sport of preference was baseball, playing club baseball for a time before committing to basketball. It was in sixth grade that he said, "I fell in love with basketball and committed to getting better at it."

Senior guard Nathan Henley gets past defenders for an easy layup.

    The Senior decided to play football this season, a decision based much on high school sports uncertainty with the covid pandemic. He did not know if there would be a basketball season at all. His athletic abilities and work ethic enabled Henley to contribute to the Panthers on the field, especially on the ball's defensive side. 

    In the final regular-season game of the year, he broke his hand, making a tackle on a player three times his size. The injury delayed his time to get on the court in recovery by several weeks missing eight of the early season games. He is just now hitting his stride back on the court as the Panthers are on now in district play.  

Nathan Henley using his creativity to get the ball past a taller defender.

    In the recent win over Anna, Henley had his best scoring output with 15 points. In the seven games he has played this season, he is averaging eight points a game. His speed and quickness get him to the rim, but his creativity in mid-air gets the ball past the reach of taller defenders. 

    Henley spoke of his biggest fans in sports and life, his parents, Jon and Melissa Henley, "my parents are always honest and let me know when I've had a good game or when there is something I need to improve on. They never miss a game." He also mentioned the support of his grandparents, George and Delilah Henley, for always being at his games. 

    The plan for what Henley will pursue after his time as a Panther is to attend Tarleton State. He is undecided on his major but considering criminal justice. Henley plans to leave no regrets behind in his senior year and return to the baseball diamond this spring. 

Senior point guard Nathan Henley averages 8 points a game, but recently had 15 points in the win over Anna.