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MICHIGAN CITY — Long before Katelyn Halfacre was a student Michigan City High School last year, Wolves girls basketball coach Mike Megyese already knew who she was.
“I remember always seeing her sitting there with those bangs in her hair and shooting with some of the girls after games,” Megyese said at practice last Thursday. “I remember always thinking to myself, ‘I can’t wait until she’s my guard in the future.’”
Halfacre arrived as a freshman last season and Megyese got to spend a ton of time with her on the hardwood and on the softball diamond as an assistant coach during Halfacre’s first seasons in both sports. She battled some typical freshman struggles in terms of the speed of the game, along with a late-season finger injury during the basketball campaign, but this season has shown positivity in her development as Megyese’s starting point guard.
“She’s not where we want her to be or where we think she can be just yet as a player,” Megyese said, “but we’re really happy with what she’s doing to get there. She’s become much more confident in her shot and isn’t afraid to take big shots. If it wasn’t for her having that confidence and hitting a big shot during the Lake Central game, we’re probably sitting at 3-1 in the (Duneland) conference and not 4-0.”
Halfacre, who is City’s second-leading scorer at a hint over 11 points a contest and the team’s top assist player at four a game, entered City’s 11-day break from games with a 20-point performance in the Wolves’ beatdown of Gary Lighthouse last Tuesday night. The shot Megyese mentioned came down the stretch of a DAC win over the Indians on Dec. 7 in a 59-57 double-overtime thriller that saw Halfacre score 12 points in a game where the Wolves trailed by 14 points to start the fourth quarter.
“It’s been pretty stressful at times,” Halfacre said on her development as a lead guard. “I just go with the flow. You gotta work really hard to become great. I want to become great.”
Megyese can be a pretty easy-going coach with his players much of the time and that’s usually on display with Halfacre, who isn’t afraid to throw a little jab back at her coach in between shooting drills at practice.
“We always go back and forth and we as coaches always stay on her as our point guard,” Megyese said. “The point guard is the most important position on the floor and we wouldn’t put her in that role if we felt that she couldn’t handle it. We know she can. That’s why she’s playing there and she’s doing a good job for us. She’s a reason why we’re having the success we’ve had so far this season.”
It’s been a different season with Halfacre gaining pivotal varsity experience with the Wolves during her first high school season. With that year under her belt, it’s been less nerve-racking on the floor for the sophomore.
“Last year, I was really nervous at times because I was freshman,” Halfacre said. “This year, I’ve become more confident in myself and feel way more comfortable playing on the court. It feels like it’s coming together for me. Last year, it was fast-paced and I was so out of control a lot. This year, I’ve calmed down.”
The Wolves enter a lull in the schedule with the holidays on an eight-game winning streak at 11-3 and a perfect 4-0 mark in conference play. They have a chance to be sitting at 12-3 on a nine-game win streak after a matchup with Highland on Dec. 29, heading for a showdown with undefeated DAC foe Crown Point (13-0) on Jan. 4 in a game that could potentially decide the conference champion.
“We’re excited,” Halfacre said. “We really like being around each other. I think the one week where we played four games ... we played a lot of games and it really brought us closer together. It made us work together and push harder. We’re a pretty close team. We’re hoping to keep this going into the Crown Point game. We’re ready for it and I can’t wait.”
Reach Michael Whitlow at email@example.com or (219) 214-4169. Follow him on Twitter @couldbelikemike.