Free plays in All-Star game

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 19, 2013

Opp rising senior Laiken Free said she was “honored and blessed” to participate as an All-Star during the annual Alabama All-Star Sports Week in Montgomery.

Free and the South All-Stars got beat by a much-taller North squad 84-36 Wednesday night at the Acadome.

During the loss, Free only appeared on the court for about six minutes. She had one steal.

Free said she got nervous the first time she walked on the court with her other South teammates.

“They were trying to give everybody the same playing time,” Free said. “We were playing hard, but we knew we were outmatched in size. They had girls who were 6-foot-3 and 6-foot-4. Our tallest girl was 6-foot (tall).

“We were tyring to keep the tempo up and pushing the court,” she said. “They had a lot of fast girls, too.”

Free said she didn’t know why she got nervous.

It may have been the environment or not playing with her Opp teammates, she said.

When asked what she learned the most about herself and her game this week, Free said it was better use of control.

“It was definitely a challenge for me,” she said. “I really enjoyed all of it — just earning how to keep control on the court while everything was going on and not panicking.”

Free and her South All-Star teammates, who are her best friends for life, got in two practices and one shoot-around before Wednesday’s game.

Following the shoot-around, Free and the rest of the girls went to a mentoring session to each younger kids about the game for use when they grow older, she said.

“I really enjoyed it,” Free said about the week. “I’m just really honored and blessed to have been able to be a part of the All-Stars this week.”

Free is the daughter of Connie and Tim Free of Opp.