Improved Lafayette Christian ready for regional playoff game _lowres

Advocate photo by Brad Kemp St. Thomas More's Megan Abrams drives in between Iota's Becca Fantroy, left, and Mallory Faul during a game last season.

On a recent rainy day, St. Thomas More coach Stephen Strojny decided to let his team out of practice early to make sure everyone got home safe.

Freshman guard Megan Abrams, a breakout player in District 5-4A and one of the team’s leading scorers, told Strojny she was excited to get home and work on her “Hot Words.”

For a normal 15-year-old freshman, that might mean a number of things, but for Abrams it was her vocabulary homework for the night.

Strojny said the exchange was typical for Abrams, whose work ethic on and off the court, is what makes her such a special player.

“You don’t see a lot of freshman as refined as her. She really doesn’t have a weakness in her game,” Strojny said. “She’s got it all.”

“With all of that on the court, she’s also a 4.0 (grade-point average) student. She understands that if you’re going to be a beast on the court, you’ve got to be a beast in the classroom as well.”

Abrams said her strong work ethic on the court, as well as in the classroom, comes from her parents, who push her to be great.

Strojny said having hard working teammates around Abrams helped push the freshman earlier in the season.

“When you’ve got everyone on the roster from starters to players at the end of the bench busting their butts everyday in practice, it shows you the kind of work you need to put in,” Strojny said.

Abrams has assumed the brunt of the scoring load for a young Cougars team with no seniors in the starting lineup.

Abrams said she doesn’t put any pressure on herself, but knows her teammates rely on her and does everything she can to help the team.

And while she’s been one of the Cougars leading scorers, Abrams has improved her distribution and shot selection throughout the season.

“Some players pass the ball to other players when they are open, but (Abrams) can pass the ball to where players are going to be open,” Strojny said. “To me that’s what special players can do, it’s almost like they have a time machine in their head to see where their teammates are going.”

Strojny said Abrams is shooting a higher percentage than earlier in the season, despite taking fewer shots.

“I’ve tried the hardest to improve my midrange game,” Abrams said. “Earlier this season I was more of a driving player, scoring around the basket, but I’ve worked on improving my shot.”

Strojny said Abrams’ shot has good technique, but the biggest improvement has come thanks to her strength training, which has helped her keep consistent form late in games.

With St. Thomas More’s basketball program being one of the strongest in the state, the Cougars have seen their share of players who took the next step in their careers, and Strojny lumped Abrams in with that group.

“She’s doing everything that she needs to do personally. She’s just going to have to be patient,” Strojny said. “She’s certainly on the right track right now.”