OXON HILL, Md. – The time outside the high school basketball season often can provide a setting for players to try a new position or new set of skills in order to expand their games.
The AAU basketball routine of multiple games in a weekend gives players plenty of game time to work on those skills after practicing them during the week.
Cassie Ksiazek, who is preparing to enter her senior year at Abington Heights, and Lauren Charlton, who is going into her sophomore year at Dallas, are two such examples on the JB Hoops girls team that completed its spring and summer schedule in July.
Ksiazek and Charlton moved away from the basket to spend time in the backcourt, scoring from and defending on the perimeter, in adjustments that may help them in high school but are more likely preparation for their potential college careers.
As she gets ready for her junior season at Dunmore, Lisa Tallo is preparing for more immediate change.
Tallo played on the wing on championship teams her first two seasons as NCAA Division I recruit Maddie Martin handled the point guard duties for the Lady Bucks.
With Martin graduated and reporting to New Jersey Institute of Technology, Tallo is likely to be handling the ball much more in her remaining time in high school.
“In the high school season, I wasn’t handling the ball as much,” Tallo said.
Dunmore coach Ben O’Brien told Tallo to be prepared for a different role.
“My coach told me I’ll be the main point guard,” Tallo said. “He wants me to handle the ball so I have to work on my game and controlling the game, too.
“I need to learn and watch how Maddie handled it and try to contribute more that way.”
When JB Hoops wrapped up its season at the USJN 17U National Championships, Tallo was second on the team and first among the guards in assists. She was also tied for second in steals while contributing 3.6 points per game as the team went 4-1 in pool play to advance to the elimination brackets.
Ksiazek and Charlton, both more accustomed to spending time closer to the basket in the high school season, shared the team lead in 3-pointers made. Ksiazek was the team’s most accurate shooter from there while Charlton was the only one to hit a 3-pointer in every game of pool play.