By Jordyn Shingleton
Photos by Dave Argyle (DBA Photography) & Highland High student Sydney Stam
Marlee steps onto the basketball court with her chin to the sky, ambition in her eyes. The heat from the ‘Friday Night Lights’ dawns down on her, her forehead dripping with sweat. As always, as the point guard, the ball is in her hands.
She takes in the noises from the crowd, the smells in the air. She immediately sees herself with her dad when she was a young girl, playing ball in their backyard.
She remembers everything her dad taught her, down to every last dribble. She calls out the play and with a calm precision leads her team through its offense. She is calm and confident, never one to let the moment overwhelm her.
This is the everyday life of Marlee Machon. A 5-foot-3 senior with the passion, if not the stature of a WNBA player. Machon shows her strength and gratitude towards the game every single time she steps onto the court.
“Its home,” Machon said. “It always has been.”
After Marlee’s father Alan realized Marlee’s older sister “Was never meant to play basketball,” he made it his goal to transform his little girl into a basketball prodigy.
And that’s exactly what he did. Alan and Marlee worked day in and day out with her ball handling skills, dribbling, and of course, her shooting.
Alan always envisioned his daughter playing college basketball. Ever since Marlee could walk, she was running with a basketball. She grew up always copying her dad. If he wanted to play golf, Marlee would play golf. If he wanted to watch TV, Marlee would watch TV. Basketball has always been that one thing Alan is happy she copied.
“Our goal, as father and daughter, has always been to get her to college,” Alan said. “Playing college ball is the added bonus we’ve always strived for.”
“Having a dad as my coach growing up has definitely payed off,” Marlee said. “He’s been my biggest inspiration and influence to play when I was little, and he still is today.”
Marlee’s parents always wanted to be those parents that could show off their daughter and be proud to have a child who was so driven by the love of a sport. Basketball has made it so everyone is happy throughout the Machon family.
“I like it cause it’s something we’ve always been able to do together, my dad and I,” Marlee said. “He runs a league at his own gym, we work out together and push each other. He’s always been my biggest supporter.”
Marlee plays on the varsity girls’ basketball team at Highland high. She is driven by passion, spirit and the desire to succeed.
Her love for the game shows on and off of the court. She maintains powerful friendships with her teammates, and works to become a better player every day.
Marlee has had problems with her height ever since she can remember. She strives to look past it, not being able to control it, and to just focus on playing as hard as she can, so when college rolls around she can show people that height isn’t, and never will be, a deciding factor in how well someone plays basketball.
“I hate when people tell me I can’t do something,” Marlee said. “Being small, everyone always underestimates me. People always tell me I’m good, but I want to be great. To play college ball you have to at least be 5-foot-7, 5-foot-8, so whenever someone tells me that I’m too short to play in the big leagues, it makes me that much more dedicated to push myself harder and longer until the first thing people see will be my skill, not my height.”
Marlee is driven to the point where she will do anything to succeed in her sport. You and I will be seeing her on the big screen soon enough, looking at her dad, who will be cheering her on from the stands.
Highland High sophomore Jordyn Shingleton wrote this story as part of the Preps Utah student journalism program, powered by Bank of American Fork, which will award two of our published student journalists college scholarships at the end of the school year.