Hinsdale South junior Gennifer Simpson is always looking for ways to improve her game.
Watching television is one way she goes about it.
“I like watching a lot of college basketball games,” said Simpson, who considers Purdue her favorite team. “I learn a lot from that. I also work hard in the offseason.”
Simpson has emerged as one of the Hornets’ top scoring threats in her first varsity season. After Mackenzie Kern sustained a knee injury, the 5-foot-6 guard replaced her the starting lineup and has remained there even after Kern’s return.
“It’s a good opportunity that I’m able to start,” Simpson said. “I play hard and earned it. My ability to drive is my biggest strength and I like to dish [the ball] off as well.”
Simpson, who is averaging 12 points a game, had 10 points and four rebounds in Hinsdale South’s 57-35 win over host Leyden Friday. The Hornets clinched third place in the West Suburban Gold after winning the previous two conference championships.
“She’s a natural scorer,” Hinsdale South coach Jen Belmonte said. “She always does a nice job. She always leads the break and always wants to score. She’s a runner.”
Simpson has formed a bond with sophomore guard Sydney Kopp, on and off the court.
“Me and her are good friends and always joke around,” Kopp said. “We work really well together. We always try to set screens for each other, get each other the ball when we’re open and drive and kick it back out to each other. She has a real quick first step when she drives and her shooting is really good.”
Belmonte expects Simpson to be an explosive scorer as a senior, but needs to improve on the other end of the court.
“I’ve been trying to get her to work on her defense and once she does that she will have nice all-around games,” Belmonte said. “The expectation is that she learns to play good team defense. She’s going to be hard to stop next year. She has some good off-the-dribble quickness and knows how to finish. I think she’s going to have a very good senior year.”
Simpson intends to heed the advice of her coach.
“I definitely struggle on defense sometimes,” Simpson said. “It will get better. That’s one of the things I have to work on this summer and just get better every day.”