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Stronger Holsinger elevates his game

SOUTH POINT – He has the speed.

Thursday, January 17, 2002

SOUTH POINT – He has the speed. He has the work ethic. He has the love of the game. And he definitely has the shooting touch.

But something was missing from Shane Holsinger’s game and the South Point Pointers senior guard spent the offseason working on that facet, namely strength.

"Hitting the weights has helped me a lot," said Holsinger. "I’m in pretty good shape and I’m preparing myself to go the whole game and not come out. I’m knocking down more shots and I’m able to finish because I’m stronger."

And Holsinger is knocking down more shots even though he’s not taking that many more attempts. Holsinger averaged 19 points a game last season but has increased his average to 27 points a game this season even though he averages just five more attempts a game.

Pointers coach Mark Lafon has noticed how the improved strength has helped Holsinger’s game.

"The last two games both Fairland and Chesapeake were focused on him and his strength has helped. He’s getting of shots he couldn’t get last year," Lafon said. "Against Chesapeake he wasn’t hitting and still got 26. Last year to get in the 20s he had to shoot outside. This year he can post up or go inside. He’s starting to do other things."

Holsinger scored 26 points in a 50-48 overtime loss to Chesapeake on Tuesday. His first basket of the game gave him 1,000 career points.

"I think it’s a great accomplishment. I’m happy I did it, but I would really would have liked to have a win," said Holsinger. "(Scoring 1,000 points) is always on your mind, but you try not to think about it or it bothers your game."

Holsinger’s ability to score makes him the focus of opposing defenses. Facing such defenses as a box-and-one and double teams, Holsinger has used his added strength to get his points.

But there is another reason for Holsinger’s scoring burst.

"I think I have a better shot selection. I go on what the defense gives me. I take the outside shot if it’s there or drive if they give it to me," said Holsinger.

Lafon agrees.

"I think he’s matured. He understands he’s going to be a better scorer and help the team if he works through the offense and doesn’t break off of the set," Lafon said.

Besides his scoring, Holsinger averages around 4.0 rebounds and assists along with 2.8 steals. Lafon said Holsinger’s defense is another area of improvement.

"He’s defending better," Lafon said. "He realizes that we lost some good defenders last year, and he knew that for us to compete and contend he has to play better defense and he’s done that. We usually put someone else on the other team’s top guard in the past and this year he’s guarding him and doing a good job."

After this season has ended, Holsinger would like nothing better than to take his game to the next level. Lafon said the improved defensive play is a step in the right direction.

"Shane’s 6-foot-1, and I told him if he plays at the next level he has to show he can guard a guy who is 6-3, 6-3, maybe 6-4. And that’s what teams are calling and asking me right now," Lafon said. "They know he can score, but they want to know if he can defend."

No matter what the future holds for Holsinger, his focus right now is on the Pointers season and winning the Ohio Valley Conference. He knows the Pointers must play better is they plan to overtake Chesapeake which holds a one-game lead in the Ohio Valley Conference race.

"I don’t think we’re playing as well as we can, but we’re starting to come together and when we do we’ll be hard to handle," Holsinger said.

Strong words, but they come from a strong player.

Just ask opposing defenses.