MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Sports

March 11, 2014

GIRLS BASKETBALL STATE PREVIEW: Heroes and helpers

Mims' play at guard impresses as Lady Rougher freshman

While every team at this week’s state basketball tournaments have their horses that have done the heavy pulling in terms of offensive load or rebounding, there are also the unsung heroes.

Trena Mims emerged to fill one of the key vacancies from last season in the team’s career starter at point guard in Kelsey McClure.  Her role has been different, but no less significant.

And to do it as a freshman.

The freshman facilitator — for a core group of sophomores.

“She’s me on the floor,” Muskogee coach Doyle Rowland said. “She gets everything going. She knows her main job is to take care of the basketball and score when she’s needed.

“She’s done well as young as she is. She’s also the girl we put on the other team’s point guard and she’s come up big defensively.”

Averaging 6.8 points per game and 2.3 assists, Mims is what you would call a natural point guard, someone who is hard to find in a world where everyone wants to shoot. She emerged off the bench in the opener against Sapulpa and quickly became the starter.

“I played a four (power forward) at one point on my AAU team,” she said. “I was about 10 or 11. I wasn’t really that big for a power forward but my body was one that made me more physical. I could drive inside and bang around a little.”

At point guard, that translates to giving up her body to draw attention away from the open shooter, which in most cases this season has been sophomores Aaliyah Wilson, Jada Ford or Lanice Rozell.

Rowland likes that she’s so coachable.

“She listens and buys into what we sell. When kids play AAU ball they get set in their ways and think that’s the only way. We’ve shown some things that’s been able to help her because of it,” the coach said.

“She also knows the calls I would make even when she doesn’t hear them screamed out.”

Mims appreciates the seasoning she’s had in AAU but sees the difference between seasons.

“I feel like if he didn’t know what he was talking about he wouldn’t be my coach,” she said. “The only way we’re going to get better as a team is if we listen and are all on the same page.

“And we are. We’ve played together a while as a group and we really all like each other.”

Still, this is a state tournament and she’s a freshman.  Yet it’s hard to convince her, or any of the sophomores, that they don’t belong here because of their age. That poise was very much evident in the regional and area championship wins against Union and Putnam City North.

“It’s not surprising that we’re here,” she said. “We believe we’re capable of going down there and winning this year.”

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