Summer hoops were in full action on Monday as the LaRue County girls’ basketball squad started the Duke’s Summer Shootout at Elizabethtown High School.
Like many teams, LaRue County coach James Slaven said his team was a little out of shape, but that was expected.
“We’re young, but I don’t know if we’ve learned anything today that we didn’t already know about us, but some of our kids that are generally not getting to play a lot of minutes are getting to play some since we have a couple kids that are gone,” he said.
Slaven plans on giving younger players more minutes this summer. He said fixing mistakes in the summer is important so when the season comes around they can be ready.
“That’s the thing about today and tomorrow, we are getting those younger kids some minutes and keeping them positive through their mistakes,” Slaven said. “That’s what I want them to see. We’re going to make mistakes and if you are, then June 10 is a great day to make a mistake.”
LaRue County came into the shootout with the mindset of making the correct adjustments and improvements.
“We have to work on our ball handling,” Slaven said. “We have to work on our shooting and shooting is a thing where we have to get kids in the gym. I think that’s our biggest thing and then the mental approach, just playing through mistakes.”
Last season, the Lady Hawks attempted 646 three-pointers and made 23 percent. Slaven said his team doesn’t go in with the mindset to shoot a lot of 3s per game, but since they have multiple guards on the floor at once, he wants them to score anyway they can.
“It’s by necessity,” Slaven said about his teams’ three-point shooting. “I don’t lay awake at night thinking about three-point attempts, but that’s what we are, we’re four guards and a post and sometimes five guards, generally an open 20-foot jumper is the best shot we are going to get.”
He said his team will look to attack the hoop more this season, but also continue what they have been doing from beyond the arc.
“We will continue to attack the basket, but we’re going to continue to shoot a bunch of threes,” Slaven said. “I know the last two years we’ve taken and made more threes than any teams in our schools’ history and we would like to beat both those numbers honestly. We would like for the makes to go up and the attempts to stay about the same, but that is going to require a lot of work in the gym, but we have kids that can shoot it, but we have to get in the gym a lot more.”
The Lady Hawks finished 13-18 a season ago, but started the campaign at 5-11.
“Hustling back, we need to get back on defense for sure,” sophomore Paige Evans said. She is expecting more wins in the upcoming season and Maddie Cima is expecting to see her team improve over the summer and throughout the season.
“I think we are really close as a team,” Evans said. “Try our hardest and help the younger players grow,” Cima said about playing over the summer.
The Lady Hawks don’t have any seniors on this year’s squad and Cima and Evans are not worried because they feel like everyone on the team can lead and help the team win.
LaRue County will look to build on its 33 percent field goal shooting. Their leading scorer from a season ago, Natalie Gentry is returning as a freshman. She averaged 8.7 points and 6.4 rebounds a game and 44.6 percent shooting.