After running the show at point guard for the St. Pius X boys basketball team the past two seasons, senior Mac Mason has made the shift to power forward. It’s not as difficult as it sounds — Mason played as a post player growing up before moving to point guard for the high school team. He says he’s back to where he’s most comfortable, and the Warriors have certainly benefited. A year after finishing 10-12, St. Pius X is off to a 5-1 start. The Star goes four quarters with Mason.
Q. What’s the transition been like after switching positions?
A. “Actually, switching to point guard after grade school was the hardest part. Going back to forward wasn’t really much of a challenge because I still feel like that’s what I’m used to.”
Q. Do you still find yourself eager to bring the ball up the court?
A. “Yeah, actually, after each and every rebound, I go straight to the ball. It’s been a struggle. I have to remind myself to just run the floor. I do the same thing on defense. I pick up (guarding) the ball instead of running down the floor.”
Q. Why has this season started much better than 2011-12?
A. “We have a lot of experience coming back. Everybody playing this year played a lot of varsity time last year. Everyone on the floor is familiar with each other. But the biggest thing is I think we’re playing with a lot more intensity and focus this year.”
Q. Some teams that get off to great starts start to fade. Why won’t that happen to St. Pius X?
A. “We want to hang our hat on our defense. We keep getting better (defensively). It’s a lot different than last year. We’ve been able to bring energy to each and every possession, and I don’t see us losing that.”
| Sam McDowell, firstname.lastname@example.org
By the numbers
39 Points poured in Tuesday by Basehor-Linwood junior Chase Younger, who powered the Bobcats past rival Bonner Springs 65-48. Younger only hit four three-pointers, so he did most of his damage going toward the bucket, off pull-up jumpers or at the free-throw line.
60 Percentage from three-point range for the Lee’s Summit girls in the second half of a come-from-behind 42-40 win against Shawnee Mission West on Wednesday. The Tigers made six threes in the second half, including two each from sophomore Natalie Dummit and freshman Mo Mosier.
724 Career points for Blue Valley Northwest junior Clay Custer, who broke the Huskies’ all-time scoring record with a 15-point performance Saturday in a 55-51 win against Valley (Iowa) in Des Moines. Custer, who signed with Iowa State, broke former UMKC standout Michael Jackson’s record (709).
Games to watch
Blue Springs girls vs. McPherson: In today’s third game of the Hy-Vee Shootout at Avila University, Blue Springs will try to continue the momentum of last week’s first-place finish in the McDonald’s Tournament. Seniors Lizzy Wendell, Karyla Middlebrook and Tyra Bickham give the Wildcats, 5-1, three versatile scoring options. McPherson, 2-1, reached the quarterfinals of the Kansas Class 4A state tournament last season.
SM South boys at Mill Valley: The undefeated Jaguars — with wins against Piper, Gardner-Edgerton and Turner — play host to undefeated SM South, which owns wins against Pleasant Hill, Basehor-Linwood and De Soto, in a clash of potential Kansas 5A powers.
Lee’s Summit boys at Park Hill South: After leading for the first three quarters against Liberty North in the Liberty North Invitational last week, Park Hill South dropped its only loss of the season to the Eagles. The Panthers, 4-1, equipped with one of the area’s tallest lineups, look to rebound tonight. Lee’s Summit has opened the year 2-3, with all five games decided by single-digit margins.
Blue Valley girls at Blue Valley West: How much better are the BV West girls? The Jaguars won two games last season, but knocked off Nixa (Mo.) and finished third during tourney action in Joplin last week. Led by its only senior, Jordan Wright, BV West already has two wins. Battling a Tigers team that has finished second at state two years in a row and is led by senior Bailey Geiman will provide a true litmus test, though.
Sam McDowell, <a href="mailto:email@example.com">firstname.lastname@example.org</a>