CLOVER — Sherer Hopkins, head varsity girls’ basketball at Clover High School, knew Monday’s shootout at the CHS new gym would be an opportunity for the team to grow during the offseason.
Which is precisely what took place when the Lady Blue Eagles hosted a shootout that included Northwestern, Fort Mill, Nation Ford and longtime rival York.
Like all of the participating teams in an offseason mode, the CHS girls struggled at times, but had their moments when the flow of the game dictated their preferred tempo.
Rising senior Zasu Carpenter, a slick play-making point guard, doesn’t mind the up tempo style of play.
“We have the speed to get up and down the court,” Carpenter said. “I feel good about how our team is playing and the potential we have for the coming season.”
Carpenter, who was sidetracked when she suffered a torn knee last season, has been fine-tuning her game as a member of an elite team in the offseason.
“I am looking forward to my final season at CHS,” said the swift-of-foot floor leader.
Telliya Patton, a rising senior post player who is approaching her fifth year of varsity basketball, knows a thing or two about the game.
“We have a successful program at Clover High and want to keep it that way,” said Patton while watching rivals Fort Mill and Nation Ford compete on the hardwood.
With a wealth of experience and a competitive mindset, Patton has assumed a leadership role for the coming season.
“I try to help the young, less experienced players adjust to the varsity level of play,” she said. “I know that the key to the offseason is continued hard work and to build team chemistry. Playing together as a team is important.”
While Patton strives to improve her overall play, there is a phase of the game that gets her going.
“I want to improve my defense and scoring,” she said. “I really take pride in rebounding the ball.”
With Hopkins out of town early in the week, assistant coaches Carl Feemster, Kiki Walker and Michael Pearson coached the team during Monday’s much-anticipated shootout.
“It’s a good opportunity for the kids to compete during the offseason,” Feemster said. “A lot of kids don’t play basketball in June.”
Feemster said the shootout allows coaches to evaluate the players.
“We rotate players and look at different combinations,” he said.
Hopkins promoted the shootout experience leading up to the event.
“Our kids benefit from the shootout in a number of ways,” she said. “The shootout is a fun event where the players are able to compete in a more relaxed setting.”
Feemster said the Lady Blue Eagle players’ busy June continues with team camp next.