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PALM HARBOR — Finding the basket seems to come easily for Palm Harbor University shooting guard Sharee Booze, who averages more than 20 points a game and has scored more than 1,000 in her career. But that was not always the case.
“When I first started playing, I wasn’t a scorer,” the senior said.
She also wasn’t a guard.
Booze took up basketball at age 10, but back then her face wasn’t to the basket; it was against it.
“I was the big man down low,” Booze recalled. “I was actually short, but I was a strong player.”
By the time Booze started playing for Clearwater as a freshman backup, she was playing small forward. Upon transferring to PHU for her sophomore year, she quickly was switched to guard by coach Darian Dublin, a move that proved a stroke of genius.
“I thought she had the potential,” Dublin said. “I had seen her play AAU and thought she could be a nice guard if given the opportunity.”
The 5-foot-6 Booze didn’t disappoint.
As a sophomore, she averaged around 18 points per game. Last year, Booze was one of the area’s top scorers (18.9) and a Times’ first-team all-county selection.
Today, that average has increased to 21.7, second in the county to St. Petersburg Catholic’s Jerica Coley (24.3). Recently, Booze became the first player in program history to reach the 1,000-point plateau.
“I was very nervous (about making the switch to guard) at first,” Booze said. “But I know the game well, and I put in a lot of time. Every day I worked on my shot and on my handles as much as I could.”
On offense, there is little Booze can’t do.
In sum, “She’s a scorer,” Dublin said.
Booze, who is being recruited by Eckerd, Tampa and Hillsborough Community College, not only is capable of burying 3-pointers and mid-range jumpers, she can utilize her previous experience at forward to post up in the paint, turn and score. She’s also excellent at finishing a fast break.
In fact, that might be her strength.
“She’s always trying to create shots,” Dublin said.
Not just for herself, it’s worth noting. Booze averages 4.5 assists per game.
“She’s a good distributor,” Dublin said.
And, what might be a surprise to some, she’s not a bad defender, either.
“I love defense,” Booze said. “I love being aggressive all the time.”