North Shore’s Lexy Cook just beginning to tap into her potential

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CHICAGO — North Shore Country Day freshman Lexy Cook possesses an elite combination of effort, quickness and athleticism and that has helped her become a dynamic rebounder.

The Northfield resident’s motor never seems to tire, which is one reason why Cook was averaging 10.3 rebounds per game as of Monday despite being inexperienced and undersized.

“I don’t have very much basketball skill, but I’m very athletic and I try really hard,” Cook said. “I hustle. I really want to win.”

North Shore Country Day girls basketball coach Dana Leonard sees an ocean of potential in Cook.

“She’s so sickly athletic that basketball’s not even her top sport — soccer is,” Leonard said. “So if we get her to even be half [decent offensively] … by the time she leaves North Shore she’s going to be breaking every single record that we have.”

The main reason for the limited offensive game is a lack of experience. The 5-foot-7 Cook said she only began playing basketball in seventh grade and she doesn’t take part in club basketball in the offseason because she plays for Eclipse Select Soccer Club, which is arguably the best club in the state.

Cook has been working with Leonard and her staff on developing her offensive game this season, and they’ve focused on bettering the form of her shot. Cook doesn’t really have a jump shot at this point in her career. It’s more of a set shot which she flips toward the basket.

Cook has been able to develop an effective offensive move this season, however. It starts with her catching the ball about 6-10 feet away from the basket. She then uses her quickness to create separation by taking two or three quick dribbles to either her left or her right — she prefers her right — before shooting a running shot near the basket.

The move created several open shots for Cook in a 47-29 loss to Parker on Jan. 14, but the next step for her is to convert her open opportunities at a higher rate.

“I’m usually not a very good shooter, so I’ve been working on my shot a lot. That’s been one of my challenges,” said Cook, who was shooting 31 percent from the field and averaging 7.8 points per game as of Monday. “I’m still working on my jump shot, so right now I’m just trying to drive to the basket and see who’s open.”

North Shore Country Day senior Becca Slotkin has seen Cook play from the first day of basketball practice this season.

“I’m not surprised at all [with Cook’s effectiveness] because she’s crazy,” Slotkin said. “Crazy athletic, and crazy in that she’ll go after anything.”

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