Macey Rogers' jump shot wasn't broken, but that didn't stop her from trying to fix it.

The junior on the Muscatine girls basketball team noticed before winter break that her shot was flat, and she couldn't release it as quick as she'd prefer. As a result, defenders had an easier time getting a hand in her face and disrupting her shot attempts.

"I've been working on a higher release point just because I've noticed with my shot it's been longer since I've been pushing it out more," Rogers said. "I'm working on finishing up above my eye so I can have a higher arc, a better chance of it going in."

The transformation started taking place over break with the help of her dad, who Rogers said "always seems to know what's right for me."

Rogers visited the Muscatine Community YMCA on a couple different occasions and has spent time during her free periods at school working on shooting.

"Macey plays so hard and she plays at a good clip," Muscatine coach Susan Orvis said. "It's just first controlling that momentum and coming to a strong jump stop and being able to control her speed. What I've noticed is just a much smoother follow-through. It's more straight at the basket, her rotation's as it should be.

"Every now and then she'd get her thumb in there and have a little side spin, but she's really worked hard to eliminate that, and I think we're seeing the results of that progress."

In her first game back from break against Davenport West last Friday, Rogers connected on 6-of-7 field goal attempts and made 5-of-6 3-pointers, finishing with a game-high 18 points.

While 19 players in Class 5A have made five or more 3-pointers in a game this season, including freshman teammate Zoey Long, no one has completed the feat at a better clip than Rogers' 83.3 percent. 

"The thing about Macey is she spends a lot of time on her game," Orvis said. "I'm just really excited to see her take that next step in our program as a leader and someone too that we can go to when we need shots."

Through 13 games this season, Rogers is leading the Muskies with 11 points per game while shooting 50 percent from the field and 46.9 percent from distance. 

In two opportunities to showcase the adjusted release point on her jump shot, Rogers is averaging 13 points per game and shooting 53.3 percent. 

"My shooting form has just felt a lot more natural," she said. 

Coaching her for the third year at the high school level, Orvis has witnessed Rogers grow beyond just the improvements in her own game. 

"I'm really proud of her development," Orvis said. "I think in the first area where we've really seen growth is in her leadership. Secondly, she's worked really hard in the strength and conditioning program and on her game.

"... She's just gotten that much stronger physically and more confident in parts of her game − the techniques and her skills. She's a joy to coach and spends a lot of time and energy on her game. Just dedicated beyond belief."

The improvements, however, haven't been limited to just Rogers. 

Muscatine (5-8, 4-6) has split its last four games, with a 34.5-point average margin of victory in the two wins. Both losses were by seven points to a 10-3 Bettendorf team and a Davenport Assumption squad that has won seven straight.

"I feel like our chemistry is getting a lot better," Rogers said. "I know (Tuesday) night the outcome may not have been what we wanted, but Assumption's a good program. It's always good to stay close, battle with them. I'm hoping as we carry on throughout our season we can compete a little better with those teams we matched up with toe-to-toe (in December) like Davenport North and North Scott."

Next up for the Muskies is a road matchup against undefeated Pleasant Valley on Friday.  


Sports Reporter