The game changer

Published 5:59 pm Thursday, December 27, 2012

Northside’s Alex Adams is averaging 14 points per game for the Panthers and has helped them get off to a 7-3 start to the season. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

PINETOWN — Just flick your wrist and follow your shot. That’s the advice Northside’s sophomore two guard Alex Adams said she would give to any aspiring sharpshooter.
It sounds easy, and Adams makes it look just as effortless when she’s knocking down three-pointers for the Panthers, but the truth is she has worked hard on that soft jumper since her father Mike Adams began practicing with her at the age of five.
The practice has paid off. Adams leads Northside with a 14 points per game average and that dead-on jumper is a big reason why the Panthers are off to a 7-3 start.
“She can shoot the ball,” Northside coach Michelle Leathers said. “She can change the game. When she’s on with her threes she can change the game.”
That’s what Northside is hoping for this season as Adams continues to grow into a leader on the Panthers.
“No doubt she’s the leader,” Leathers said. “She’s not a vocal leader but on the floor she’s the leader.”
As a freshman last year Adams was just looking to find her niche with the team but this season she has grown more comfortable in her leading role.
“Last year I was a little nervous starting as a freshman,” Adams said. “This year I feel like I’m just a little older and wiser. I’m trying to be more of a team player and support everybody.”
Leading is about more than just doing and Adams said she is working on developing the vocal part of her leadership role and that communicating on the court will be the key for the Panthers to have a strong season.
“We need to work as a team and step it up a little bit,” Adams said. “(During the Christmas tournament) we didn’t talk as much but I feel like if we work together and don’t focus as much on the stuff going on outside of the court that we will do a lot better than we have done already.”
There’s no doubt Adams can post points in a hurry from beyond the arc, but her biggest challenge right now is finding ways to beat defenders off the dribble. When asked what she needs to work on Adams didn’t hesitate saying, “Ball-handling,” before adding, “And being able to see the whole court.”
Leathers said if Adams can continue to improve on her dribbling it will unlock a world options for the young shooting guard.
“Once she can start going to her right and left, that’s going to change the game,” Leathers said. “She’ll be very hard to stop.”
With that in mind, Leathers said the potential for the sophomore is as endless as her range.
“She’s elevated her game and I think each year she’s going to elevate her game. I believe that if she keeps working on her game there’s a possibility she might be better than I was,” said Leathers, who played basketball for the Kansas Jayhawks. “I really believe that and I tell her that all the time.”