The holidays will find a handful of Henry teams hooping it up in holiday tourneys here and elsewhere, thus providing them with a chance to take stock of themselves as they compete against top tier state from around the state and nation.
For those homebound during Christmas vacation, the time off can used to address early season struggles.
Count Locust Grove coach Gregory Shook’s scrappy bunch in that second group.
The Lady Wildcats headed into the holidays seven games under .500, a stat which can be somewhat misleading given the fact that the team has failed to close out several winnable games.
“We’re better than what our record shows,” Shook asserted. “Then again,” he added, “you look at the youth we’ve got on the floor … we’ll get there eventually. It’s just growing pains we’re going through.”
Those pains should come as no surprise. The Locust Grove varsity basketball program, like the school, is only four years old.
To borrow a term from famed college basketball analyst Dick Vitale, Shook’s’ starting five could qualify as prep “diaper dandies” if they continue to gel and develop both individually and collectively.
Leading scorer Sabiyah Broderick is the only senior in the team’s first unit. The swing guard got off to a blazing start, averaging 17 points and 14 rebounds through the first six games.
Diminutive point guard Taniya Juarez is evolving into a formidable sparkplug for the Lady Wildcats. Fellow sophomore Taylor Delasbour is growing into her role as a forward. Junior wing Alley Fegenbush has been a stabilizing “workhorse” while classmate Temia Juarez (sister to Taniya) has been steadily providing under-the-radar production from her shooting guard spot.
In an area where hoops has long been ignored in favor of volleyball and softball, Shook sees a ray of daylight at the end of the tunnel.
“We’re trying to build a [basketball] culture here,” the coach said. “Kids want to play … but they’ve got to understand that Rome wasn’t built in a day.”