It started with a broom at her local church.
When basketball players talk about their shooting regimens, they often refer to the gun. It’s the modern day norm now to get in the gym and get X number of shots up, with the gun feeding them the ball and shooting over a net.
So when Thomas More senior Courtney Hurst recently broke the 3-pointers made record for a career for the Thomas More women’s basketball program, she went back to the many days she spent at her local church gym, practicing with her father Robby.
And the broom, of course.
“At first, I thought the broom was a joke,” Hurst said. “Conner had the gun, but my church was closer, so we’d go there and dad would put the broom up and want to focus on arc.”
For non-basketball players, Hurst’s dad would hold the broom up to a specific height, and Hurst would need to shoot the ball so that it arced above the broom.
When she hit the mark at Shawnee State on Dec. 10, breaking Abby Owings record of 264 made 3-pointers, she didn’t even know it.
“After the game, my parents had known and coach congratulated me,” Hurst said. “My dad had mentioned it to me after last season, but I didn’t know, didn’t expect it, with the records this program has, it’s super exciting. I’m kind of glad I didn’t know because I wasn’t pressured. Now it’s just shooting for more.”
The 3-point shot has been in Hurst’s arsenal for a long time. She also holds the record at Conner High School, where she made 370 three-pointers in her career and the most for a season with 112.
Thomas More coach Jeff Hans recruited her specifically for that skillset as his teams have developed more into a perimeter-oriented type team, oftentimes not having a true post player on the floor. But Hans has been really pleased with Hurst’s progression in other phases of the game.
“She’s always done a good job with scoring and the offensive part of it, but defensively she’s really grown into that part of her game and become a more complete player,” Hans said.
Hurst has tallied 280 three-pointers in her career as the senior and Saints head into their game Thursday with Cumberland (Tennessee). Of the 17 games Thomas More has played this season, Hurst has hit at least one 3-pointer in 16 of those 17 contests, hitting multiple 3-pointers in 13 of 17.
Like much of basketball from the high school level on up, the 3-pointer is a major point of emphasis in today’s game. It’s no different for Thomas More, averaging 27 three-point attempts a game.
“Look at our roster now and we don’t have many big post players, we rely on it (3-pointers) as well,” Hans said. “NBA and WNBA started some of that stuff. It makes it fun, we have a let it fly type mentality.”
And Hurst will definitely do that, attempting 6.8 three-pointers per game.
“She’s developed great form over the years,” Hans said. “Her release is quick, she doesn’t think about it and is ready to shoot it every time.”
She’s hitting the final stretch of her career. Having already accomplished a national title last season and the win over Lindsey Wilson the 100th victory of her time on campus at Crestview Hills, Hurst still wants more.
“Another national title,” Hurst said. “We are 11 conference games in and we still need to get better offensively and defensively and just know our basics. In order to win another national title, we just need to focus on the next game and win the games ahead of you.”
When basketball ends, she’s on track to be a nurse and wants to stay close to home.
“I’m a homebody,” Hurst said. “Thomas More is 15 minutes from where I grew up. I’d love to do something in the nursing field with kids.”
Hurst and the Saints continue to hold the top spot in the national NAIA rankings, the latest poll keeping them No. 1 as they carry a 23-game winning streak into Thursday’s contest.