Girls basketball | First day of practice

First day of practice comes with mixed emotions at Boone Grove

2012-10-22T19:00:00Z 2012-11-20T23:42:10Z First day of practice comes with mixed emotions at Boone GroveJim Hunsley jim.hunsley@nwi.com, (219) 548-4356 nwitimes.com
October 22, 2012 7:00 pm  • 

Given the option, Boone Grove senior Claudia Cooper would have enjoyed a season-opening game Monday -- not a practice.

"I'm more prepared this season," said Cooper, who totaled 89 points a season ago. "I was ready to go out and play a game."

Cooper, a 5-foot-10 swing player, was normally the first one down the court on fast breaks during the second half of Monday's scrimmage session on the IHSAA's official first day of practice.

Cooper drove, took feeds and had at least 10 buckets during one part of the practice.

"I didn't have the confidence last year, but I have it now," said Cooper, who played AAU ball to enhance her skills in the offseason. "I have built things up."

While Cooper seemed dominant at times, classmate Brittany Slicker was relegated to taking shots on the sidelines. She tore her ACL and injured some meniscus playing basketball on Sept. 30.

The Wolves lost almost 70 percent of their scoring from last year's 19-3 squad, and Slicker was the leading returning scorer (119 points).

Her season status is uncertain, and the family has decided to waive any surgical procedures at this point. Boone Grove coach Candy Wilson believes Slicker might suit up at some point.

"I just feel so bad for her, not just as a basketball player," Wilson said of Slicker. "She was so pumped for this season. It's kind of like a dirty trick was played.

"At first, I thought it was a death sentence; it would pretty much be the season if she had surgery. She's hard-nosed; she has nothing to lose at this point. There's just no promises this will work."

As for Wilson, in some ways, the opening day is more of annoyance.

"No offense, but you have to deal with the papers," Wilson said. "You have to get everything organized. You have stragglers who don't have their physicals yet, and you are dealing with people having injuries from other sports. I don't think the first day is a good gauge of everything.

"You're like, 'I cannot wait to get to the basketball.' That should come about the third day."

Monday also didn't feel like the first day of the season for Wilson. She said the team played at least 30 games in the summer. This is like the "second season" for returning players and newcomers like freshmen Rachel Cantwell and Sarah Brown, Wilson added.

"It's not like it used to be; everyone pretty much knows everyone else," said Wilson, who has 12 straight winning seasons at Boone Grove. "You kind of have to do that with games starting in two weeks.

"You cannot start things now. We could have played today. I know the girls eyes lit up when I said we were spending the last 45 minutes of practice as a scrimmage. They had a good time."

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