If Mt. Spokane basketball coach Melissa Allen had one wish, it would be that Brooke Reilly would be more selfish.
“It’s a fine line,” Allen said. “Looking for good opportunities and being aggressive is not the same thing as being a ball hog and forcing (shots).”
Reilly, a three-year starter, averages a team-leading 12.9 points per game. But she very well could be at 15 or better. And that’s what Allen desires.
“She averages about 10 shots per game,” Allen said. “I’d like for her to take at least 12 to 14 shots per game. That would be ideal.”
The 6-foot forward/ post, who signed in November with the University of Idaho, has heard the admonishment frequently from Allen.
In games against Mead and Lewis and Clark, Reilly took a combined nine shots.
Allen understands it’s easier for Reilly to defer than fire away.
“It’s not her nature to be selfish,” Allen said. “She’s always looking to get her teammates involved.”
That’s a good thing, too. But if the Wildcats want to earn a state berth – which has yet to be done in school history – Reilly understands she must be more assertive offensively.
“Everyone – my mom, my dad, my coach – tells me I need to shoot more,” Reilly said. “I know I need to, and when I don’t step up usually the other girls won’t either.”
Reilly got off to a slow start this season. Then she had five straight games in double-figure scoring. She had a season-high 21 in a win over Ferris on Tuesday.
“She has to keep looking for more opportunities to score,” Allen said.
Reilly, a four-year letter winner, has come a long way in terms of shooting.
“The first couple of years I could hardly get her to shoot,” Allen said. “She has the ability to carry the team on her back. Several of our key wins she’s responsible for. She’s really worked hard in the offseason to become a great player. She’s a great shooter, good defender, good rebounder and good ball handler.”
Mt. Spokane will jockey for postseason seeding in its final seven league games. The Wildcats beat University and lost to Shadle Park in the first half of league play. The Wildcats’ win Tuesday moved them into a five-way tie for third.
The Wildcats travel to U-Hi on Friday.
Reilly says her team hasn’t come close to playing its best yet.
“We haven’t put four quarters together,” said Reilly, a second-team all-league player last year. “Usually we have one bad quarter and don’t play up to our ability.”
Still, Mt. Spokane is much improved over a year ago.
“Last year we couldn’t pull through,” Reilly said. “We were competitive at times but not quite there. We were always on the losing end.”
The Wildcats posted their first win over LC after 29 consecutive losses.
“The biggest difference this year is not one girl on the team doesn’t want to win,” Reilly said. “We’re definitely still growing as a team. We’re getting there for sure.”
Reilly, who sports a 3.83 grade-point average, was recruited consistently by seven schools, including Idaho. Eastern Washington University, Idaho State, Montana, Santa Clara, Colorado State and Boise State showed interest, she said.
She will play with a teammate from her Spokane-based Northwest Blazers Orange AAU team, Karlee Wilson of Lewiston, at Idaho.
Idaho coach Jon Newlee sees Reilly challenging for time at wing and forward right away.
“Brooke is long on the perimeter, she can shoot the 3 and she runs the floor well,” Newlee said in a news release when Reilly signed. “She’s a tough kid inside and she’s able to defend positions 2 through 5. She’s really going to bring a toughness and athleticism to our program that we’re looking for in that spot.”
Reilly was a three-year starter in volleyball and a first-team all-league selection last fall. The Wildcats went to state all three years.
Now Reilly wants to lead her basketball team to state.
Allen knows Reilly will make a smooth transition to college.
“She’s a great athlete and has tons of potential,” Allen said. “She’s going to get better and better. It will be fun to see how she develops when she gets to the next level. I think she’ll meet the challenge head on. Not all high school athletes have that drive. That desire to compete and get better is going to do well for her in the future.”