Story and Photo by Kailee Means / UC Sports Nation
Even in today’s modern age of basketball that emphasizes the importance of pace and spacing, the impact a good post player can have on a team’s success.
Take Clarkrange Senior Chloe Howard, for example. The stats might not look gaudy if one merely judged based on a box score, but her ability as a rebounder, rim protector and scorer when called upon is a major reason the Lady Buffaloes are currently 13-4 overall with a 9-0 district record and a top-five ranking in the Class A AP Polls.
“(It’s) very important, because a post player is one of the biggest players in the game,” Howard said about her role. “If someone else isn’t scoring on the outside, we need to score on the inside to take make people guard us.”
Her role becomes even bigger when you factor in that she and fellow Senior Mackenzie Pile are the main feature post players on the team. If you ask Head Coach Lamar Rogers, he will tell you that her role and her improvement from last season to now are a vital part of their success.
“The more she scores inside, the better team we will be,” Rogers said. “That opens up our three-point shooting…she’s progressed and she’s getting her strength up, which she’s been working on, so we’re proud of that.”
Howard has made her presence felt with eight points against Trousdale County on Jan. 8 and 13 against Gordonsville on Jan. 12.
When asked what has led to the improvements, Howard is quick to share the credit.
“My team (has helped a lot),” Howard said. “They have made a big impact to help me get better. I think my parents and the fans are a big part as well. They’re always there cheering us on and helping us play well.”
It likely helps as well that she plays for a coach that pushes her and her teammates to constantly improve and never settle.
“We challenge them,” Rogers said. “We challenge her and our other players, and she works hard in practice. We run drills to try to toughen them up, and post play is so critical, especially for them to finish the play. We don’t have a lot of height, but her height balances our team out.”
Howard and the Lady Buffaloes will return to the court on Tuesday, as they hit the road to Jackson County for a district showdown.