For The Tribune

Kage Spence enjoys playing as a senior

on the Medora

boys basketball team and is optimistic about the current season under first-year coach Michael Leitzman.

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“I think we’ll win a lot of games,” he said. “We have a new coach (Leitzman), and he brings a winning mindset, and I think we have a pretty strong team.

“Kirk (Stewart), by far,

is the leader. He sets up

our offense.”

Spence began his basketball career in Medora in the

fifth grade.

He is in his second season as a regular for the varsity and said he prefers to play at the small forward position.

“I play just about anywhere,” Spence said. “I just try to keep the offense going and make sure everyone is in their place.”

Spence’s high-point games have been 15 against Shoals, and 13 against Crothersville and Indiana Deaf last season.

“I just take what’s open,” he said about his shooting. “I feel comfortable shooting 3-pointers, or if I have a lane I’ll go in. I think I’d rather play against a man-to-man (defense). You can manipulate the defense more.”

The senior scored the game-winning shot in overtime against Indiana Deaf in a 60-59 victory Feb. 21.

Following that game, the Hornets defeated Washington Catholic to go on a five-game winning streak.

Ball-handling is one of Spence’s strongest attributes. He said he feels as comfortable dribbling left-handed as he does right-handed.

“I can play either side, but I do like the left side more,” he said. “My free-throw shooting is good, but it always could be better.”

When on offense, Spence prefers to play quickly, especially on fast breaks.

“I like to go outside because then the point guard can drive up the middle and pass off,” Spence said.

The Hornets are in their first season playing under coach Leitzman.

“I think (Leitzman) brings more of a winning mindset to the game,” Spence said, adding that practices are different than in the past. “I think we do a lot more defensive drills. He wants us to be more focused on defense than our offense.”

During games, the Hornets are constantly changing between man-to-man and zone defenses.

“We play a 2-3 defense,” Spence said. “I play along the baseline. I guard the corner and try to make sure they don’t pass it down to the block. We do some full-court press, but only after a made basket or after a time out. We want to make sure they don’t get a fast-break basket.”

One of the Hornet’s keys to finding success this season is having a strong mental game and winning the battle of the boards, according to Spence.

“(We need to) keep the turnovers down and rebound,” Spence said. “I think (mental) is just as important as the physical part of sports. You have to be mentally set to do your best.”

Playing at Medora has been a special experience for Spence.

“I’ll remember a lot of the home games and the crowd, and that (five-game) win streak we went on last year, I think that was pretty memorable,” Spence said. “I’m glad to have been playing basketball all these years.”

On the hardwood

Parents: William and Amberly Spence

Siblings: Jaylen and Zack

Sports: Basketball four years; track one year

Favorite away gym: West Washington

Organizations: Beta Club

Plans after high school: Attend Ivy Tech

Favorite food: Chicken stir-fry

Favorite TV show: “Futurama”

Favorite athlete: Michael Jordan

Favorite team: Chicago Bulls

Author photo
Arv Koontz is a sports correspondent for The (Seymour) Tribune.