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Mobley is now front and center

When the girls basketball season ended last year, Citrus' Lisa Mobley decided a change in attitude was necessary.

No longer would she approach the game with a cavalier attitude. No longer would she consider the game as just something to do in her spare time.

She was going to get serious for her final high school season.

"At the end of last season, I set a goal to work hard and do better," Mobley said. "I knew this was going to be my last year in high school and I figured I had had fun for three years. I decided I wanted to make an improvement and be (more) serious my last year. Before, I was just having fun."

Not that just having fun was a bad thing. Mobley was a respectable role player for the Hurricanes the past two seasons, lending her talents mostly as a strong rebounder.

But with the loss of several key players to graduation the past two seasons, Mobley realized she needed to move into a more prominent role if Citrus was to have any chance at success this year.

So, the 5-foot-9 center enlisted the help of people she thought could best prepare her for the 1999-2000 high school season.

"I played basketball with boys two or three times out of the week at Floral City Elementary in the summer," Mobley said. "I played with my cousins from up north and my brother-in-law. I got smacked around, bruised up. But it helped me a lot, especially in rebounding."

Mobley is the team's leading scorer and rebounder, averaging 11.1 points and 8.5 rebounds on a team that is 10-9 this season.

"She also gets a lot of steals," Citrus coach Bruce Nelson said. "We really do a good job with the team concept. She has a lot of points, but there are four others who are scoring for us too. We've got some people that can score, which is good for us because (opponents) just can't stop us in one spot."

Mobley has concentrated on several areas of her game, most notably staying out of foul trouble and free-throw shooting.

"I worked on that (free-throw shooting) almost too much," Mobley said, smiling. "I learned to stay focused and keep my eyes on the basket when I shoot. And now, I try to make them foul me instead of me getting fouled out. I know now if they foul me I can get free throws."

Nelson said Mobley's off-season work has benefitted her and the team.

"We've got real good guards and they are pretty good at shooting, so the defense comes out and she's left to shoot," Nelson said. "She's real quick inside and will fake and go inside, but she's also real good at stealing. She's involved in fastbreaks a lot, although you wouldn't expect that with a center."

Her new role as a go-to player has caught Mobley by surprise, maybe more than anyone else.

"It shocked me," she said. "But I still get fussed at a lot at practice and that helps me. It teaches me to stay focused and do better if I have someone always nagging and fussing at me. And (Nelson) stays on me."

Nelson said he may focus on Mobley more often than not in practice because of the type of player she is: a game-day player.

"She's a real scrapper and that's a real strength of hers," Nelson said. "She just grits her teeth and goes. But sometimes she'll smile a lot and go three-quarters speed in practice so I have to get on her. But she's great when the game comes around."

Mobley said she's disappointed the season seems to be coming to an end so soon, but is excited about the possibilities of post-season play.

"I want to win the district and I think we can," Mobley said. "What really helped us out this year was going to the Christmas tournament (in Ocala). We played against teams we had never seen before and it was a very good practice for us. It showed us where we were at. I hope we're confident, but we can't get too confident."

Lisa Mobley

HEIGHT: 5 feet 9.

YEAR: Senior.

POSITION: Center.

THE FACTS: Mobley was a forward her first two seasons with the Hurricanes, but was moved to center this year. "She's quick to the ball and she's real confident in her rebounding and shooting," Citrus coach Bruce Nelson said. "Now she's working on her defense."

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