GENOA – Mason Lucca immediately knew the punishment after missing his first attempt in a free-throw drill near the end of practice.
Along with a handful of other Genoa-Kingston basketball teammates who experienced similar misfortune at the charity stripe, Lucca toed the sideline ready to sprint eight widths of the court, up and back.
An assistant coach’s whistle blew and everyone took off. Lucca was the only one sprinting while dribbling a basketball.
“That’s Mason,” G-K coach Corey Jenkins said. “He wants to improve each part of his game every day. He wants to be the best player he can be.”
Now a senior, Lucca’s work ethic has him entering his third year on the varsity and is projected to be the starting point guard. He says his drive likely developed from years of backyard games with his three brothers.
“I think a lot of it was just the competition, growing up through the years with my two older brothers and younger brother, just playing in the driveway,” Lucca said. “It was just cutthroat, so you just had to work hard all the time.”
Lucca was the Cogs’ primary ball-handler much of last year, his first in the starting lineup. But with an experienced group back from last year and the addition of a strong junior class along with Lucca’s younger brother, Tommy, Mason won’t have to shoulder as much this season.
“He’s our leader by example, and this year we want him to be a vocal leader for us,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins says Mason is one of his favorite kids in the school, and it’s easy to see why. The Cogs return four key members of last year’s team, but Lucca insists there still is work to do.
“We need to come to practice every day ready to play, same with games,” Lucca said. “Last year we had a couple games where we just didn’t have it some nights and we need to be more consistent with that.”