Trayvon Sims, senior
This is the first in a series of Athletes of the Week being sponsored by The Pittsfield Cooperative Bank. The bank, in conjunction with iBerkshires, is honoring high school athletes in Dalton, Great Barrington and Pittsfield who have excelled in their chosen sport.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A little Trayvon Sims goes a long way.
At full strength, the Taconic High School guard is one of the most dangerous players in Berkshire County high school boys basketball.
But as he showed last week against rival St. Joseph, even at less than full strength, he is a handful.
"I'm feeling great right now," Sims said after hitting the winning shot at the buzzer against the Crusaders. "Senior year, we beat St. Joe — I'm feeling great."
But was he 100 percent physically?
"No," he answered with a laugh. "My ankle is still messed up. It's a little twisted, still, but we taped it up, took some Motrin for it, and I'm good."
Three nights earlier, Sims turned his ankle and was forced to leave early in what ended up being an eight-point loss to Mount Greylock. He missed Taconic's next game, a two-point decision to Division 1 Amherst.
Then, on Friday, he started the game on the bench in a rematch with St. Joe, which handled Taconic, 70-63 back in December.
Sims checked into the game before the end of the first quarter.
Taconic coach Bill Heaphy wanted to sit his injured starter a little bit longer, but circumstances said otherwise.
"Charles [Davis)] picked up two [fouls] right away, and we had to," Heaphy said. "[Sims] had said to me he was about 70 percent, so I told him I needed him for the long haul. I wanted him in this game, and he wanted to play.
"I told him, 'When your number is called, just be ready to play. Once he got in, I think he got loose, and he was effective immediately."
Sims ended up with 15 points and four rebounds. His put back of an offensive rebound on the last play of the game secured a 63-61 win and helped Taconic (9-6) sustain a run of eight wins in 11 games going back to Jan. 3.
Sims' contributions to the Pittsfield basketball community extend beyond the high school court, Heaphy explained.
"He is an active member of the Pittsfield Boys and Girls Club and has been all his life," Heaphy said. "He's done some things with youth basketball and helped with some clinics I've done, as have some of the other guys on the team.
"Trayvon is always willing to do something if you ask him — to keep score or to run the clock."
Heaphy said Sims is looking at options for college next year and definitely wants to keep basketball part of his future.
One more win in Taconic's last four games, and that future is going to include a trip to the Western Massachusetts tournament. The postseason looked like a longshot after Taconic opened the season 1-5, but a couple of weeks ago, Sims explained that the team was able to draw closer after some early adversity.
"Pretty much we're a family now," he said. "We started out rocky in the beginning, and we just pulled it together. We all trust each other and love basketball."