The summer basketball season is just getting started for the Minooka girls, but already extra emphasis on shooting by the Indians has paid off. On Tuesday at the Morris Ladies Shootout, the locals responded by going 2-1, in the process earning a seed in the championship bracket on Wednesday.
“What we decided to do this summer is concentrate solely on offense. Not that I’ve seen it in every game, but in order to improve upon last year, we feel we need to be consistently better on the offensive end of the court,” Minooka coach Ray Liberatore said.
“We also feel that we have enough time before November when the season starts to hone things on the defensive end.”
Offense and, in particular, shooting form.
“We’ve been trying out this new shooting technique that we’ve been working on,” Minooka sophomore Sydney Arlis said. “We’re all working really hard on it and hopefully that will help out.”
“We’re working on turning our feet instead of squaring up,” Arlis said. “Also finishing with one finger down, instead of three.”
Liberatore said that the clinic to start the summer lasted three hours.
“The big thing we’ve done is spend time on shooting. We did a three-hour shooting clinic. It’s called Pro-Shots Systems and I thought it went really well,” Liberatore said. “We’re tweaking some things in terms of form on our shot that hopefully will pay off down the road.”
“Sometimes it gets a little tough because you go back to what you know, but we’ve all been working really hard about not to worry about if it goes in or not, but to just worry about the shot itself,” Arlis admitted.
Well it must be working because Minooka beat Deerfield 49-24 and Hillcrest 41-29 but lost a tight 37-32 game to Bloomington Central Catholic on Tuesday at the Ladies Shootout.
Minooka returns three starters in Kelly Carnagio, Arlis and Erin Heide.
“And that is a great trio to build upon,” Liberatore said. “We have a team that can run. I would say that, other than a couple of couple of quick hitters and inbounds plays, we have most of our offense in that we are going to use during the season.”
The regular season is still five months away, so in the meantime the focus is on the summer schedule.
“We’ve only played two days. We had a league night at Plainfield Central on Wednesday night and we also played at St. Francis in a shootout there last Sunday,” Liberatore said. “They were shorter games at St. Francis, so we played five games that day and two at Central.
“Obviously we have this (Morris Shootout) and three more weeks of league. We’re going to the U-of-I for a one-day shootout on Saturday and at the end of the month we have the Notre Dame team camp. So we have quite a bit left.”
Even more so until opening game.
“I think we’re going to have a really good team this year,” Arlis said. “We have a lot of nice new players, as well as players with experience so, combined we should be really good.”