It's time for the Silent Storm to speak up.

It's not Samantha Morris' idea. The Deptford basketball star prefers to stay quiet and let her game make most of the noise.

But she's a senior. This is her fourth varsity season. She's likely to become the program's all-time leading scorer in February.

So she has to say something.

"I don't really want to," Morris said. "But I know I have to. I like to lead by example, maybe just let the other girls watch me. But I know I can't do that this year. I have to talk more."

Deptford coach Mark Petito figures Morris has to do more of everything this season: score, rebound, play defense.

Oh, and talk, too.

"She has to be a little more outspoken this year, and she will," Petito said. "It's just not her nature. She's so quiet."

Petito said Morris' mild demeanor masks her competitive fire. "The bottom line is that she is extremely competitive," Petito said. "She doesn't like to lose. She just keeps it inside and lets her game do her talking on the floor.

"You would never think it if you just looked at her, or saw her walking down the halls in schools. But she has this relentlessness about her."

Morris said she's always been competitive.

"I just hate to lose," she said. "I don't know where it comes from. I've always been like that. I just won't give up on it."

The 5-foot-9 Morris will have to raise her game this season to help the Spartans defend their share of the Tri-County Royal title. Deptford shared the crown last season with Williamstown and Clearview.

"We have some unknown factors this season," Petito said. "We're going to need Sam to score more and do more of everything else, too."

Clearview coach Neil Bress said that Morris is a unique athlete because she does not look or act like a star. She just plays like one.

"If you walked into a gym and looked at her and had to pick out the basketball players, she probably wouldn't be in the top 10," Bress said. "But she never stops moving on the court. She is so hard to guard."

Kingsway coach Karyn Pickard said Morris plays the game in textbook fashion.

"John Wooden would love her," Pickard said. "She comes off screens, catches the ball, scores. She quietly kicks your butt."

Last month, Morris signed to attend Philadelphia University on a basketball scholarship. She said the school and its Division II program are a perfect fit.

"It just felt right," said Morris, who plans to major in business. "It's in a great area, it's about 40 minutes from home, it's a great school. I just knew it was right."

Morris averaged 20 points a game last season, after scoring 17 per game as a sophomore. She has 1,352 career points, about 350 behind 2000 Deptford graduate LaSheena Martin, the program's all-time leading scorer.

Barring injury, Morris should pass Martin late in the season.

"That would be nice," Morris said. "It would feel pretty good to see my name up there at the top of the list."

For Deptford's Silent Storm, it might even be something to talk about.

Contact staff writer Phil Anastasia at 856-779-3223