Sophie Smith tends to draw a lot of attention.
Naturally so, Denmark’s sophomore shooting guard is averaging double digits each time she steps on the court.
So when Smith was under duress Tuesday night, unable to find an open shot, she passed the ball off to sophomore Jessie DeNardo in the corner, right in front of the Danes’ bench.
DeNardo took a brief second to compose herself, wound up and nailed a corner three – a welcomed sight for a Denmark offense that struggled to find consistency during Tuesday’s 68-41 loss to White County.
“She’s expanded her role quite a bit,” Denmark girls
basketball coach Jaime Maxey said of DeNardo. “She’s knocking down a lot more
shots than last year, (and) she’s rebounding a lot for us. We were up at West
Hall Friday night and she had 20 rebounds. She’s doing a great job, and that’s
all we can ask for.”
White County raced out of the gate, scoring 15 of the first 19 points before taking a 47-20 lead into halftime.
Smith led the Danes with 19 points, while DeNardo had 13 points and nine rebounds.
“Sophie’s done a lot for us offensively,” Maxey said, “coming in a making passes and creating shots that we weren’t able to before, which is allowing players like Jessie to start knocking down shots.”
But Denmark’s dynamic sophomores are still trying to find its rhythm on offense and on defense.
At one point in the second half, Smith tried a half-court pass in the direction of DeNardo. But DeNardo never turned to look back, which allowed a White County defender to scoop the ball and take it back up the court.
Still, with no seniors on the roster, Maxey can’t help but be optimistic for the future of the program.
“Clarissa Kelly, she’s gotten a lot stronger with the basketball,” Maxey said. “Last year she was very timid. This year she isn’t afraid to get in the mix and drive to the basket. She’s starting to create a lot more shots for players like Sophie and Jessie.”
Maxey also spoke highly of freshman Ellery Campbell, who scored a season-high 17 points Jan. 4 in a 61-59 loss to Lambert.
Denmark (7-17, 3-8 Region 7-4A) will host Marist at 6 p.m. Friday.