CARROLLTON, Ala. — Callie Minor didn”t know what was going on.
Minor wanted only the best for her senior season at Pickens Academy, so it was natural for her to expect a lot from herself.
But missed layup after missed layup early in the girls basketball season added to the frustration and made her believe she wasn”t playing as well as she could.
“I was missing layups all of the time and I feel like I had to make all of my shots,” Minor said.
Those thoughts are a distant memory.
Minor has left the slow start to the season in the dust and has become a double-double machine, averaging about 17 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Lady Pirates.
The 5-foot-10 post player scored 18 points and had 14 rebounds Friday to lead Pickens Academy to a 49-44 victory against Patrician Academy. The victory helped the Lady Pirates (22-3 before Monday”s game) close Class 2A, Region 3 play with a 12-0 record.
For her accomplishments, Minor is The Commercial Dispatch Prep Player of the Week.
Minor admits she went through a “little slump” at the beginning of the 2009-10 season, but she said she didn”t make any drastic changes to snap out of it.
“I just didn”t think about it and just started playing my game and let it come to me,” Minor said.
Pickens Academy coach Wade Goodman said Minor is like classmate Catherine Johnson in that both players are too hard on themselves. He said it often is difficult for Minor, Johnson, and classmate Tate Fuller to recognize their importance to the team and that they are leaders in what they do.
Goodman said Minor”s problems stemmed from the fact that her “senior expectations” were preventing her from playing as well as she could. He said once she settled down things came into focus.
“The three seniors really have been the backbone of the team since I have been here,” Goodman said. “She is a great rebounder who boxes out well. Most of time the tallest player on the court doesn”t box out. But if you do box out and you”re the tallest one on the court it really shows.”
Goodman said Minor, who has started on the varsity team since the ninth grade, changed her fortunes Dec. 10 in a game at Tuscaloosa Academy. He said a tough practice, which Minor remembered included having to run 52 bleachers, preceded the Tuscaloosa Academy game and seemed to provide a spark. He said the Lady Pirates played strong defense and Minor delivered an 18-rebound performance that helped get the team going.
“That really was the beginning of the turnaround,” Goodman said. “We were not playing bad at the time, but we weren”t getting after it, either.”
Minor responded and has remained consistent despite facing double- and triple-teams. Goodman said Minor”s willingness to work hard down low allows her to be an effective rebounder. He said she doesn”t let defenses frustrate her because she knows she has plenty of shooters to pass to who will make opponents pay for their mistakes.
“I believe in them that they”re going to make the shot,” Minor said of her teammates.
In addition to rebounding, Minor feels it is her responsibility to stay positive and to keep her teammates up. She considers playing defense and blocking out to be the top two strengths of her game, and she credits coach Lewis and her mother, Lauri, for teaching her the importance of boxing out when she was younger.
Goodman said other players could learn something from watching Minor. He said she typically is a player who does what he asks and strives to make him proud.
Judging from how well Minor has rebounded from a slow start, it”s difficult to argue with the results.
“She is the only true post player we have, and (rebounding) is all I preach,” Goodman said. “We have to rebound. Some games it seems like she is the only one doing it (because she is so good at it).”
Adam Minichino is the former Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.