Rylie Shrum wants to end her prep basketball career on a high note, and the Hebron senior knows the key to that goal is finishing at the basket.
Shrum is in her third year on varsity for the Hawks, and she entered the campaign with 190 combined points. In six games this season, Shrum is more than one-third of the way to that mark with 66 points. She's scored in double figures in three of her first four games for the Times No. 9 Hawks (4-2).
She averages 11 points, 8 rebounds and 2 steals per game.
"She's come out strong for us and definitely been a presence on the floor," Hebron coach Stephanie Schulte said. "Things have clicked for her this year. She's seizing the moment."
Schulte said Shrum become more comfortable on the floor the last two seasons, but there was plenty of room for improvement. The main focus for Shrum's offseason became finishing moves in the lane.
"I needed to be more dominant; I knew I had to pick up my scoring," Shrum said. "I think the mixture of practice and confidence has helped. The assistant coaches bring out the big pads and beat us, so we have to focus on finishing out shots."
Shrum isn't new to the physical aspect of the game. Elder brothers Alex, Matt and Andrew all played for the Hebron boys team, and driveway scrimmages would grow a little heated.
"They definitely liked to beat me up," Rylie said. "That really helped me understand the physical part of the game."
At 5-foot-8, Shrum doesn't tower over the opposition, so technique is also an important factor.
"I'm not 6-foot, so I have to box out and do the things I learn in practice," Shrum said. "A lot of my baskets are on putbacks, so I have to be ready."
Shrum feels even more comfortable this season on the court. She is the team's second-leading scorer, but she doesn't feel like the focal point of opposing defenses. Five players, including leading scorer Bre Lewin (12 ppg) have at least two games in double figures.
"It's definitely huge that a lot of people are scoring," Shrum said. "Someone is always there to pick up the team."
Even with her fast start, Shrum isn't satisfied. She's striving for more to make this season special.
"I love my team, and this is the closest one I've been on," Shrum said. "The coaching staff is looking to the seniors to step it up. I have to remain focused and be ready to do even more. I want to finish strong."