Wesclin junior guard Cami Meddows approaches the 3-point arc with her knees bent and toes turned slightly inward.
She eyes up the basket, then pushes the ball from just under her chin as if it were a two-handed shot put. Her follow-through claps her wrists together with such force that after 15 shots she's developed bruises.
"My shot's not that pretty," the BND Athlete of the Week readily confesses.
But looks, as they say, aren't everything.
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Awkward though it may be, Meddows' 3-point stroke is one of the most efficient in the metro-east and it's made her the champion of the IHSA Class 2A State 3-point Showdown.
She'll compete against the 1A, 3A and 4A champions for the title of Queen of the Hill Saturday at Redbird Arena on the campus of Illinois State University.
"Her coach says if she ever has kids to not teach them to shoot," said Meddow's mom, Lynn Meddows. "It's on me, though. I told her how she is supposed to shoot, it just didn't come out the way I told her. You never listen to your parents. But however she does it, she somehow gets them to fall."
My shot's not that pretty.
Cami Meddows, Wesclin junior guard and Illinois Class 2A 3-point champion
Meddows was the third highest scorer for the 11-16 Warriors this season, averaging 8 points per game. Her 2.19 3-per-game average was the fourth best in southwest Illinois and her 59 total were best on her team by far. It was a role she happened into when senior guard Carly Haukapp went down with an ankle injury.
But Meddows was one of four sharp-shooting Warriors to represent Wesclin in the 3-point competition, but the only one to advance to the preliminaries in Bloomington last Thursday, Feb. 25.
Thirty-two shooters —including Central's Alicia Book and Dupo's Megan Brown — were divided into four shooting groups of eight. They were each given 45 seconds to take 15 shots. The player with the most shots made advanced to their class' championship round.
Meddows was good on eight of her shots and wound up in a tie with Rockford Christian High School freshman Kinsley McIllroy. She won the tie breaker with seven more good shots to advance to the 2A final four.
As the last to advance from the preliminaries, Meddows got the shoot first in the final round, which she said was a big advantage.
"I liked going first first and getting it over with," she said. "It was nerve wracking waiting for the other shooters afterward, but at least I didn't have to worry about matching somebody else's numbers."
I told her how she is supposed to shoot, it just didn't come out the way I told her. You never listen to your parents. But however she does it, she somehow gets them to fall.
Lynn Meddows, Cami’s mother
She made only one of her first six shots, but knocked down nine straight to finish 10-of-15 in the final round. The second shooter, Sydney McClintock of Illini Bluffs, started strong but ended up one shot short of Meddows.
"It's exciting," Meddows said about representing Class 2A for Queen of the Hill. "I've heard the girl from 1A is really good, but that's all I know about who I'll be shooting against. I'm just going to focus on my own shots and just wait to see how things turn out."
The Queen of the Hill finals take place Saturday between the Class 3A championship and third place games at about 1:30 p.m.
Meddows will be the lone senior on a Wesclin team stacked with sophomores and juniors next season and, as such, the soft-spoken teenager will be called upon to lead the Warriors as their captain.
She also hopes to continue developing that awkward, 3-point shot and make a little history with it. She fell just eight 3s shy of Chelsea Klein’s school record of 68 in a season.
“ I really want to break that school record,” she said.