Summer work paying off for sophomore guard
Kelli Tolar spent the summer back home in San Antonio working with a coach on her shooting ability after her freshman year for the Dodge City Community College women's basketball team Tolar averaged 10.6 points a game with a 30.8 percent from three point range for the Lady Conqs; but only a 35 percent average in all of her shots, which is very low for a shooting guard. The sophomore has shown the benefits of that hard work in the eight games so far this season with a 22.3 points in her first eight games (including a 35-point performance Tuesday night against Lamar) and leads the conference in three-point baskets with 32 (making 44 percent of her shots). "I put up a lot of shots and had a lot of repetition; working out every day," Tolar said about her summer. "I set some goals for myself, but I didn't set them this high. Maybe I need to change them, but hard work pays off. "My coach told me to set some goals on paper for this season. I set my point average at 15 and my three-point percentage to 40 percent." Tolar was able to handle moving the coaching change from Lucas McDonald to Mark James. In fact she didn't miss a beat as she has helped the Lady Conqs to a 7-1 record (two wins shy of the total number of wins for the squad last year). "She's done a good job of being a coachable kid," James said. "Kelli has been a stabilizing person for this team. She has been a leader on and off the floor. When we are conditioning, she's always up front and goes 100 percent in practice. "She brings a work ethic to our team that I think sets a solid example for our freshmen, our recruits and even our sophomores that maybe didn't know how hard they should be working." Tolar also said the team has a number of leaders, not just she and Kesha Buckner as the captains. The guard said she sees the team working together to record wins and be a threat this season in the Jayhawk West. "There has been a lot of change, and that happens when you have a new coach," Tolar said. "We have a great team that adapted so well, and that speaks a lot that we have come together and buy in to what the coaches want. "When you have everyone wanting to buy in, it doesn't matter who the coach is because everyone is working hard in the coach's system."