There is a lot one could say about the basketball skills of Pioneer guard Lauren DeWolf, but one word that should be near the top of any list of round-ball adjectives is reliable. Even though she is only a sophomore, DeWolf has become a steady, consistent and reliable player that Pioneer Coach Tyrone Hicks can put on the floor and not have to worry anymore about that part of the game.
She can run the offense. She can shoot and pass the ball. She can defend the opponent’s best perimeter player. And she makes all of this look so easy.
Following a recent game, an easy win over Skyline, DeWolf talked about how her season was going and expectations for the Pioneers. You got the sense that she wasn’t exactly satisfied with how the team was playing – but she understands it’s a process and with such a young team, it can take some time to find the groove.
“We are doing OK, but we are getting better,” she says. “We are still letting little things get to us and once we get past that we will be fine. We need to do the little things better like boxing out and communicating better. We need to get back on defense if we turn the ball over and not hang our heads. I know I can play better and I know the team can play better.”
DeWolf is averaging around 14 points per game and has a knack of finding the hot shooter – a great trait for a point guard. The Pioneers have lost some close games, including Friday night’s double overtime loss at home to Bedford. But at 2-2 and 7-5 overall following Tuesday’s win over Monroe, they are still very much alive in the league and will be a tough out in Districts.
DeWolf came into Tuesday’s game averaging 12.7 points, 4 steals and 4.7 rebounds. She had a team-high 14 points in the win over Monroe.
DeWolf, who plays AAU basketball for Common Bond along with several of her Pioneer teammates, burst onto the basketball scene as a freshman last year and was one of the top players in the SEC Red. She says her confidence level is much higher this season with a year of experience in her gym bag.
“Yeah, I feel a lot more comfortable out there,” she says with a big smile. “I still get nervous before games but nothing like last year.”
She’s also stepped up into a leadership role – another good trait for a point guard.
“We lost six seniors from last year so I do feel like more of a leader this season,” she says. “We only have two seniors this year so we are very young.”
Pioneer has a big test on Friday when they travel to Huron to face the River Rats who are 3-0 and in first place in the SEC Red. A win on Friday puts the Pioneers right back in the race.
There are clear and simple goals for these talented Pioneers who feature fellow sophomores Mya Hicks and Alexis Clark along with junior Felicia Stewart.
“We want to get better every day and if we do that I think we can win the league,” DeWolf says. “We just want to keep working hard and doing our best.”
And their best could be good enough to win a lot of basketball games.