Archive for Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Chieftains forward leads Swoosh to 2-3 record in Nebraska

July 25, 2007

Three Tonganoxie High girls basketball players participated in the 2007 Miss Basketball Showcase in Kearney, Neb.

Liz Baska, Shannon Carlin and Christy Weller played for the Kansas Swoosh, which went 2-3 in the showcase, July 12-15.

The showcase was a recruiting fest: 159 college coaches from 28 different states converged on the University of Nebraska-Kearney campus for the event.

"You'd dribble up the court and have rows of coaches looking down on you," said Baska, who will be a senior in the fall. "It was kind of intimidating."

Baska and Carlin led the Swoosh in scoring in the five games with 11.2 and nine points per game, respectively. Weller had four total points in the tournament. She hit a two-pointer and converted two free throws.

Baska plays in the post, typically at power forward, but can handle the ball along the perimeter as well. She had three three-pointers in the tournament to complement 15 two-point field goals and 17 converted free throws.

Carlin is a shooting guard who likes to slash toward the basket. All 18 of Carlin's field goals were two-pointers. She also converted nine free throws.

"Liz can handle the ball so well and then guard anyone from the opposing point guard to their post players," Kansas Swoosh coach Fred Stanbrough said. "And Shannon is so athletic and has all the tools. She hasn't even scratched the surface on how good she can be."

The Swoosh ran into a situation against the Missouri Valley Eclipse in which one of the opposing players -- Taber Spani -- created a potential matchup problem. The versatile Baska guarded her.

"She's 6-1, so she was a little bigger than I am," Baska said. "She was the tallest girl on their team and she was the point guard. She has an all-around game."

Baska has played on the Swoosh the since she was 10. She has fond memories of a particular drill Stanbrough once used with the team.

"We used to do a diving drill," Baska said. "Basically, there were two people on the baseline and he would roll the ball toward half court. Whoever dove for the ball got a point. We loved it."

Even if it left the players with some marks?

"All of us used to go through stages where our knees would be blue from floor burns," Baska said. "You'd think that would make us mad, but we thought it was funny. It was basically a diving fest."

Baska said she would consider playing basketball in college, if the opportunity arose. She wants to choose a place where she can study pre-med.

"I tore my ACL my sophomore year," Baska said. "When I went through physical therapy, (pre-med) appealed to me. I was around them three times a week and went on a six-month rehab."

The Swoosh finished its summer season at the Sunflower Games in Topeka this past weekend. The team went 3-2.

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