Latrobe's Madison Kollar honing skills in sophomore season

| Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Madison Kollar had a list of potential self-improvements by the end of last season. Now, the Latrobe sophomore forward is crossing them off.

Become a more consistent scorer? She has that down with a 15.2-point average that's best on the team and one of the best in the WPIAL.

Grab more rebounds? She's done that too by averaging nine.

The secret to her success, she said, was staying in the game. Her offseason wasn't much of one as she played AAU, in summer leagues and attended camps.

“I worked hard in the offseason, and that's helped me a lot,” Kollar said. “I think that staying confident in my game has helped me a lot, too.”

Her abilities were on full display Jan. 2 at Laurel Highlands, when she scored a career-high 32 points.

“As the game went on, I didn't even think and realize that I had that much,” she said. “I was just really confident that game. I took the ball to the hoop, which is something I've gotten better at this season.”

Kollar, a 5-foot-10 forward, has led the Wildcats to a 5-4 overall record, including a 2-2 mark in Section 1-AAAA. Last season, the Wildcats went 9-14 and lost their final six games. Kollar said the addition of first-year coach LuAnn Mills and her up-tempo attack has been a real boost.

Even with Kollar's output, there are plenty of baskets to be made in Mills' system. The night Kollar scored a career high also saw teammate Taley Dunaway score 15. She averages 10.5 points.

“They were not used to a lot of ball movement, but now everyone gets touches on the ball and I think they like that,” Mills said. “Everyone contributes, and the system brings out the best in Maddie and her teammates.”

While she still has one more year of high school hoops to play, Kollar, who carries a 4.0 GPA, said she wants to play in college.

Her father, Jim, played basketball at Pitt-Johnstown. Her brother, Garrett, a senior, will play volleyball next season at George Mason.

“Having a dad that played basketball in college and having a brother that will be playing Division I volleyball has helped me realize the hard work that it takes to be successful, and it's helped me become more competitive,” Kollar said.

Mills expects that attitude to help Kollar continue to flourish.

“I know that she is very coachable,” Mills said. “She listens to detail and is always willing to give 100 percent. She wants to improve even in the areas where she is proficient. She will continue to improve, and I certainly believe that the WPIAL will be noticing Maddie Kollar these next three years.”

Ed Phillipps is a freelance writer.

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