Then, as Keeling turned his head to watch the free throw attempts, the seated coach regained his player’s attention.
“Hey, good pass,” said Hunter, making sure he pointed out the positives and the negatives.
The Laney boys basketball team, with a cast of players much different from the one on the previous season’s state championship squad, continues to learn and improve this season.
Saturday’s 72-58 home win over Butler is another sign.
The victory comes after the Wildcats lost the season’s first meeting by 18 points on Nov. 24.
“There are a lot of growing pains,” Hunter said. “But in order for a flower to blossom, rain is just as important as sunshine.”
There was only a drizzle of issues Saturday night, as the Wildcats were in command most of the game. JaShawn Brooks scored 17 of his 19 points by halftime, hitting three 3-pointers and also attacking the basket.
But Brooks wasn’t the only contributor, with Laney seeing four double-digit scorers.
With that depth, Laney (9-4) went up by 12 at the half and stretched the lead to 21 during the third quarter.
Butler closed to within 12 points a couple times in the fourth quarter, but the Wildcats regrouped and there wasn’t enough time.
The win coincides with Laney’s growth as the players add more games to learn from.
“There’s no substitute for experience,” Hunter said.”
In the girls game, Laney scored the first 19 points to coast to a 60-22 win.
Simone Smith led the early charge, scoring six points in the first quarter and also showing great vision and touch on passes.
Smith wasn’t afraid to draw defenders to then pass off to teammates, who finished.
Khadijiah Cave scored 13 points to pace the 13-0 Lady Wildcats in scoring, though eight other players scored with the bench getting plenty of minutes in the rout.