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Maldonado's development key for Fillies' success

Posted: December 3, 2012 - 6:43pm  |  Updated: December 4, 2012 - 1:15am

Allison Maldonado had just three points in Shallowater’s 45-28 victory against Smyer in the championship game of the Shallowater Shootout on Saturday.

But head coach Chuck Darden said that doesn’t begin to tell the story of her importance in the game. Jordan Locke and Kennedy Farr, Smyer’s two top players, combined for 20 of the Lady Cats’ 28 points

“Her defense was the key,” Darden said. “She did a super job on both those big girls of Smyer even though she didn’t score much in the game. We count on her inside. She’s got a lot of experience and we need it. She’s done a great job for the team.”

Maldonado’s development has been huge for the Fillies, who are off to a 9-0 start and ranked No. 9 in the state. It also earns her this week’s honor as the Happy State Bank/Avalanche-Journal Female Athlete of the Week.

She averaged 11.3 points per game during the tournament last weekend, scoring 16 against Post in the opening round and 15 against Muleshoe in the semifinals.

“I really just want to go out and be the best I can be in any way I’m needed to contribute,” Maldonado said. “Offense or defense, whatever they need me for.”

Maldonado averaged 9.3 points and 4.8 rebounds per game as a junior, her first full year on varsity after coming up from the junior varsity toward the end of her sophomore season. But she realized in the offseason she needed to take the next step.

“I really want this team to go far and I’ve worked really hard to make that happen,” Maldonado said. “But I also have a great team surrounding me. It’s an amazing team and the other players have helped me a lot.

“This past year we wanted to go to state and this being my senior year it hit me that I’m going to have to be a leader on the team to make that happen, and we all want that to happen.”

Darden said the presence of Maldonado and fellow senior forward Rebekah Jones, both over 6-foot tall, gives the Fillies a tough matchup in the paint.

But they’re not quite where they need to be.

Darden said both need to continue working on their footwork inside, and Maldonado herself pinpointed her high-post game and her passing as two areas she’s focused on improving.

“I’m used to playing down low, but I have to be up high to work the offense,” Maldonado said. “It’s taking a lot of shooting. I’m not the best passer. I can see the pass, but then I throw it and I’m like, ‘That’s not where I wanted it to go.’”

But the confidence gained from beating Smyer, a perennial Class 1A power that won the tournament last year, should help down the road, Maldonado said.

“To finally get them and win the tournament is amazing,” Maldonado said. “It will definitely help us with our confidence a lot.”

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