BELLEVILLE — Long before the Belleville East Lancers opened the 2013-14 season, coach Andrea Seipp had a good old-fashioned sit-down with senior Montira Mosby.
Seipp's message was clear: Be prepared.
"Montira led our team and was one of the leading scorers in the (Southwestern) conference last year," Seipp said. "She is our go-to girl. We talked before the season and she knew that she would be the focus of other teams when they played us.
"We've double- and triple-teamed her in practice to prepare her for what she'll see and she's accepted every single situation and challenge that we've thrown at her.''
Averaging 16.6 points and 7.8 rebounds per game for the Lancers (9-7), it's fair to say that Mosby has passed every test thus far.
The Lancers' unquestioned leader both on and off the court, the 5-foot-11 Mosby has developed into one of the top players in the St. Louis area and should be competing at the NCAA Division I or Division II level next season.
"I haven't really heard much from colleges yet. I'm interested in Murray State, maybe Truman State. Basketball is my first choice. I'd like to stay reasonably close to home,'' Mosby said. "Right now, I'm just concentrating on being a leader for this team. Our goal is to win a regional title on our home court.''
"Leader" is the best way to describe Mosby at East. A first-team all-Southwestern Conference performer for the Lancers volleyball team in the fall, she also excels in the classroom.
Ranked 191st in a senior class of 665, Mosby has a 3.7 GPA and is a member of the National Honor Society. She dreams of becoming a pediatrician one day.
"I have a great love for kids and for helping people. I feel like that's what I want to do,'' Mosby said.
Mosby comes from an athletic family.
Her dad, Raymond Mosby, played basketball at East St. Louis High School and Long Beach State University, before playing professionally in Australia. Her mom, Trudy Mosby, played high school basketball in Australia.
Older sister Chante played basketball at East for two years and served as a manager with the team before graduating in 2012. She now competes in track and field at Southeast Missouri State University.
Younger sisters Tamar, a sophomore and Janae, a freshman, also are in the Lancers' basketball program, while senior Brynesha Mosby and sophomore Elisha Davis are cousins of the Mosbys.
"We joke that there will be a Mosby wall at the gym someday," Seipp said. "We're very fortunate that the Mosbys go to our school. They are a huge part of not only the basketball, but also the volleyball and track programs here.''
But Montira Mosby is the one Seipp and the Lancers currently look to.
A three-year starter, Mosby is in her second year as a team captain.
Mosby is not a vocal leader. Instead she leads by example and hard work.
"One of my roles on this team is to be a leader. By being the best player, I felt like I wanted to be a leader not so much with my words but with my actions.'' Mosby said. "I do things like working hard through the drills, staying after practice and shooting and just pushing everybody so that we keep improving every day.''
Mosby's skills also have made her a leader. A strong inside player for most of her career, Mosby spent time last summer playing basketball with St. Louis Team Adidas, where she concentrated on her perimeter shooting.
"I feel like I'm more versatile this year. I'm working on my outside shot while still working on my post moves,'' Mosby said. "I'm looking to score more. To help my team so we can win."
Seipp said Mosby's improved perimeter game will make her a better college player.
"We use her as a post player and that's because she's one of the tallest players on our team,'' Seipp said. "But Montira wants to go on to play at the next level as either a guard or a forward.
"She's able to make adjustments in her game. That's the big thing. She's also improved her outside shooting and I think that's just from hard work.''
Seipp thinks Mosby will excel at the college level.
"I keep calling Montira 'the hidden gem.' She's going to make some college coach look like a genius,'' Seipp said. "She's got all the tools. I think her best basketball is yet to come. She's very coachable and she's determined to become the best basketball player that she can be.''