MONROE CITY, Mo. -- Jada Summers is starting to expand her game, and she hopes it extends her playing career.
Summers has averaged 19.2 points and 10.4 rebounds during her prep career at Monroe City. The 5-foot-8 senior does most of her damage within 5 feet of the basket, and she had 27 points and nine rebounds in the Panthers' 55-25 victory over South Shelby in the semifinals of the 94th annual Monroe City Tournament on Wednesday night.
However, she also showed a willingness to play facing the basket. She's only made 11 3-pointers in her first three years, but she drained two 3-pointers in the third quarter Wednesday, and she led the Monroe City fast break on a handful of occasions.
Summers knows she needs to show that side of her game to catch the eyes of college recruiters. So far, the only school she says has shown much interest is Culver-Stockton College.
"This summer, I started practicing my 3-point shot a lot, and my dad helped me," she said. "I've talked about it with my coaches and parents, and I need to do more than be inside, because there's going to be lots of girls bigger than me in college. I have to be able to dribble, shoot, drive ... all that kind of stuff."
Panthers coach Cody Leonard said Summers always has been capable of doing more, but keeping her near the rim is what's been best for the team.
"That's our bread and butter," he said. "When she's in the lane, good things happen for us. But I've told college coaches that how we play her is how we have to for us to be successful. She can do a lot of other things. It's just hard for them to think outside the box and visualize that.
"I don't need her to hit four or five 3-pointers a game. I just need her to hit one or two to keep people honest."
Summers scored 10 consecutive points, all on free throws, offensive rebound putbacks or layups, as part of a 16-0 run in the first half that put South Shelby in a 22-2 hole. The Lady Birds (3-1) missed 15 of their first 16 shots, and they never got closer than 16 points thereafter.
"Our girls played scared to death," South Shelby coach Luke O'Laughlin said. "We got down real quick, and we were scared of the moment and scared of Monroe. They outworked us, we gave up, and we got steamrolled.
"We spent time in practice talking about boxing (Summers) out, and then nobody touched her. All she has to do is grab a rebound and shoot a layup. It's not too hard. Nobody wanted to touch her. I guess it's a credit to her."
Summers says the hardest part of broadening her game is working on her shooting.
"I still like doing my normal stuff and getting my rebounds," she said.
Leonard says he also wants to see her become a better leader on a team full of juniors and sophomores.
"I've told her, ‘You've got to do it. There's no excuse,'" he said. "Since we lost (last month to Quincy Notre Dame), she's started to accept it a little bit. All of this is a work in progress, but she's fully capable of it."
Monroe City 55, South Shelby 25
SOUTH SHELBY (3-1)
O'Neal 2-12 1-4 5, Roetemeyer 0-2 0-0 0, Mayes 3-5 2-3 8, Wood 2-6 0-0 4, Mitchell 1-10 0-0 3, Durbin 1-2 1-2 3, Dovin 1-2 0-0 2, Rudison 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 10-41 4-9 25.
MONROE CITY (3-1)
Dyer 0-5 0-2 0, Yager 2-6 0-0 6, Summers 10-14 5-8 27, Youngblood 1-10 0-0 2, Quinn 4-6 3-4 11, Bailee Hays 1-3 0-0 3, Bailey Hays 1-3 0-0 2, Minor 1-2 0-0 2, Utterback 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 21-50 8-14 55.
South Shelby 2 6 7 10--25
Monroe City 17 10 16 12--55
3-point field goals--South Shelby 1-12 (Mitchell 1-9, O'Neal 0-2, Wood 0-1), Monroe City 5-15 (Summers 2-3, Yager 2-5, Bailee Hays 1-2, Bailey Hays 0-2, Dyer 0-2, Minor 0-1). Rebounds--Monroe City 42 (Summers 9), South Shelby 21 (O'Neal 6). Turnovers--South Shelby 23, Monroe City 22. Fouls--Monroe City 16, South Shelby 13. Fouled out--none. Officials--Bill Treaster, Clint Miller.