Poca basketball player aims to raise her game for senior season
A familiar face, rising senior Aubrey Chandler, now factors a more prominent role for the Poca girls basketball.
With the graduation of standout Casey Skeens, the Dots will look to Chandler, the team’s top returning scorer, for further production and leadership, and she’ll fine tune her skills during this summer’s three-week practice period, which began June 12.
“I love playing in the summer, because you get to play 100 different teams, so I’m excited for that,” Chandler said. “I knew when Casey left that I was going to have to come up. I’ll have to guard probably one of their best players on the teams we play, and I know I’m going to have to score even more, because we don’t have her. I think I’m ready for it, because I’ve known I’m going to have to step up.”
Poca returns to practice following the program’s first state tournament appearance since 1999. The sixth-seeded Dots (18-8) lost 58-24 to No. 3 seed North Marion in the Class AA quarterfinals. Poca will look to make the first steps in a return trip to state during the summer period when the team will play 22 games across three weeks.
Chandler, who played last season as small forward, directly benefited from Skeens’ veteran point guard skills, but this year, Chandler will be expected to manufacture her own offense.
“What we’re going to have to work with her is creating her own shot,” Poca coach Kenny Sayre said, “trying to get to take more stuff to the basket and create her own shot this year, step up and be that leader ‘Give me the ball. I’m going to score.’”
Depending on the team’s final roster, Chandler may continue to play the three spot or post, an area where she said she hopes to improve this summer.
“I’m probably going to have to play somewhere different every game, just wherever (Sayre) needs me to, probably all over,” Chandler said. “I’m not the best in the post, but I’ll hopefully get better.
“I’m just going to try and work on getting better in the post, because that’s hard for me. I don’t usually play post, but I know I’m going to have to some this year. I want to work on that a little bit.”
With her experience and a positive attitude, Sayre said he expects continued success from Chandler, even with bigger expectations.
“She’ll be fine,” he said. “We’re definitely looking for big things from her this year.”
Poca will conclude its summer practice period at the annual St. Albans Shootout June 27-28.