By John Ring
Published July 14, 2022 in The Burg
If any coach knows the value of summer basketball, we don’t have to look to far from Galesburg. Coach Evan Massey was one of the first to pioneer it back in the 1990s and like other things he innovated, the process has paid off.
The Streaks recently finished hosting their Summer League which was played at the GHS campus and at Lombard. Coach Massey was pleased with the way his team performed. The Streaks are coming off a Regional Championship but graduated several starters from that team.
They also had a strong sophomore team that won the Western Big 6 under Coach Mike Rux and the incoming junior class had a good summer.
“Like most years, some of the rising juniors stepped in and didn't miss a beat, and for others it was a tougher adjustment,” said Coach Massey. “The tough part for the players coming up is the varsity game is faster and the challenges to defend on the varsity level are greater. With the number of rising juniors, we invested a lot of time working on man to man defense- things like defending ball screens, learning to talk, becoming more physical, and on transition defense. We got better at some defensive concepts but we have a ways to go before we have a championship level defense.”
Those games also allowed the Streaks to adapt at the point guard position for the upcoming season. Senior Grace Nelson started the games at that position but now-senior and co-captain Capre Ferguson saw a lot of time on the floor too. “With Capre back, we have experience at the point guard position. Although she did not start, she played a lot of minutes at the point guard position for us. In our Regional Championship game, she was our hero in the fourth quarter.
Addie McLaughlin was the starter on Rux’s team and the other two co-captains, Alexis Edgerson and Kiarra Kilgore also played some at the point guard position. “Edgerson has taken her game to another level,” said Coach Massey.
Massey went on to explain what he uses the summer game process for.
“The big deal for me as a coach is to use the summer to experiment and see what works for this group. It is not like we are going to throw lots of new things in, but you would like to be able to start practice in November knowing what you want to work on. In that regard we had a good summer.”
“An example of the experimenting, the last couple games we short handed, and we slipped Capre Ferguson in as a post player. She was outstanding as a rebounder, defender and scorer as a post player- we know that is something we can go with at some point.”
“This summer we showed some real flashes of being a dominate team, but we weren't really consistent. As coaches and as players, how we played this summer has us all going into the season with some high goals and excited to get started.”