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WALNUT GROVE — The first-ever SWMOBasketball Player of the Week is Joplin McAuley junior Courtney Bates.
A 5’6 guard, Bates narrowly edged Branson 2020 prospect Priscilla Williams for the award in a Twitter poll that drew nearly 500 votes.
Through the Lady Warriors’ first three games this season, Bates has helped McAuley go 2-1 with wins over Liberal and Southwest and is averaging 11.7 points per game to go along with 3.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists and a team-high 4.3 steals per game.
She recorded a game-high 17 points and six steals in a 50-36 win over Liberal on Nov. 21, which led to the Player of the Week award.
SWMOBasketball recently caught up with Bates and asked her about her game and the season.
SWMO — How would you describe your game to people who haven’t seen you play?
Courtney — For people who haven’t seen me play before, I would say that I’m a scrappy player, I try to read the ball, and be one step ahead of everyone else.
SWMO — Tell us about your performance last week and what you were able to do that made the difference.
Courtney — In last weeks game I had a pretty solid first quarter where I scored most of my points. I feel that I played pretty scrappy and was able to go after the ball and finish my shots. I am in pretty good shape, by duel sporting in cross county and volleyball, so running in transition, scoring easy layups, taking open shots and moving the ball to make the defense work. Just playing simple basketball I feel made the biggest difference and not focusing on individual points.
SWMO — Do you think your hard work during the off-season is starting to pay off?
Courtney — Yes, getting touches during off season is overall good for anyone, it improves your game, it gives you more opportunities to improve on individual aspects and you can just play ball without having structured game plans. We also do work in the weight room which really helped improved our game.
SWMO — Were you more excited to score 17 points or have six steals? Why?
Courtney — Honestly I didn’t know how many points/ steals I had until my sister told me I was being nominated for player of the week, my main and the teams goal was to stay ahead of the other team so it didn’t matter to me who had the points, as long as we had the points.
SWMO — Is this the two-way style of play something you hope to continue?
Courtney — Yes, I hope to continue to play well and to keep my stats up. My goal is to get to 1,000 points, with that being said I think putting the teams goals first is more important than my own goals.
SWMO — Is there a specific matchup you are looking forward to playing against this season?
Courtney — I’m looking forward to playing crane this year, since we have never played them I’m looking forward to the new competition and from what my coach has told me they have a solid team.
SWMO — What are some things in your game you are still hoping to improve?
Courtney — I want to improve in all areas, but mainly in my jump shot.
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