2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

Shook putting anxiety past her to lead Grizzlies into future

Published: April 13, 2014, 4:10 pm, by Scott Kaniewski

DENVER — There’s one certainty for the 4A girls’ basketball state champions: Mesa Ridge is Kylee Shook’s team for the next two seasons.

Coach Jeff Beatty knows it. She knows it. And with a relaxed sigh at the Pepsi Center on Saturday, the Grizzlies’ 6-foot-4 sophomore said the notion doesn’t scare her quite as much as it used to.

“I’m finding ways not to get so stressed about it,” Shook said after scoring she grabbed five rebounds (but was held scoreless)  at the state’s most prestigious high-school all-star basketball game, The Show. “I’m getting there.”

The Grizzlies lose six seniors, including team captain Gabby Purnell, following a championship run that included a buzzer-beating layup to oust Pueblo South in the semifinals and takedown of Goliath Broomfield in the state finals.

Beatty and Shook recently had a discussion about what the center’s role must be during the 2014-15 season.

“I have to be much more aggressive on the offensive end. We’ve talked about that,” said Shook, who averaged a team-high 13 points last year, but wavered on the offensive end in the postseason and averaged less than nine points through the final five games. “I can’t let myself get so worked up out there. I can’t be as passive.”

She admitted she was still too hesitant with the ball on Saturday’s big stage when Shook, Sand Creek’s Mikayla Reese and the White Team fell to Peyton’s Shelby Patterson and the Regis-heavy Blue Team 45-37.

Shook, a starter, attempted just one shot.

“Being nervous is just something I have to work on and get over,” Shook said. “I can’t be worried about making mistakes all the time. Who cares if I miss a shot or make a mistake? I need to stay aggressive. I’ll get better at it.”

The Grizzlies sophomore already has four verbal scholarships, all from Pac-12 schools, all before NCAA rules allow college coaches to contact her directly next fall.

Shook will be the team’s only returning starter next season.

Brent W. New, The Gazette

Twitter: @brentwnew @gazettepreps