The Summit girls basketball team made it back to the playoffs last year after a year of absence, and summer preparations are geared toward keeping the Lady Jaguars on track for a repeat performance.
Summit went as far as the regional finals last year, but with the loss of seven seniors from that squad, the Lady Jags will look to returning starters such as new seniors Christina Baker and Amber Dixon.
Both helped lead the early season charge, but the Lady Jags had to make the later-season run without Dixon because of a knee injury.
She immediately recalls Jan. 27 as the day of her last surgery.
Dixon had completely missed her sophomore year due to a left knee injury. Then, her right knee kept her out of the second half of the district schedule and the playoff run last year.
“I’m feeling better,” Dixon said. “(Rehab is) much easier than last time. I should be back in a couple of months. I’m working out and jogging a little now, but I can’t cut yet.”
Driving the lane is a big part of Dixon’s game, but she now has time to work on pulling up and then hitting her shot, she said.
She said she’s still able to spend a lot of time in the gym shooting.
“I’m ready to be back,” Dixon said as she talked about her senior year. “I’m thinking about it a lot and I’m really wanting to be back and be stronger than before.”
Dixon, a point guard, realized the conditioning may be the most difficult part of the return to play, as she’s spent almost six months with little to no activity.
Dixon and Baker are also doing what they can in the workout room this summer.
Lifting and running becomes the staple of most athletes in the summer months, and in addition, Baker is playing select league basketball with the Texas Elite.
Baker was taking just a little bit of a break but will be back into sanctioned tournament play most of July with the Elite team.
As a power forward, Baker said her senior year will afford an opportunity to use her experience to try and match last year’s run.
“I’m trying to become more versatile in my play,” Baker said. “I’m usually down low and I want to develop my outside game. My turnaround shot and rebounding are my bread and butter.”
Before the team gets back together for unified practices at the start of the school year, Baker said she’s working on her own.
“That’s what I’m doing if I’m not at home with my family,” Baker said.
Baker said the preparations for this coming season started, though, “since the day after we lost (in the regional finals). We got together about 6 or 7 each morning. We called it the ‘Breakfast Club.’ The coaches are there for you any time you want to get better.”
It was the first year as head coach at Summit for Dawn Mailloux-Smith, but along with assistant Steven Thomas, Baker said the transition was just another success hurdle the team cleared during the season.
“The team was always close,” Baker said. “We rolled with the punches and faced quite a bit last year. I’m ready for this year. It’s my time, my senior year and we’ll be ready for it.”