Creswell, Sports Zone

Maness poised to step up for Lady Dawgs

Emma Maness said she is working on her post moves this summer. She hopes to become a double-threat, adding three-point shooting to her inside game. Gini Davis/The Creswell Chronicle

Girls looking to improve their basketball skills had ample chance to do so this summer during a coed basketball camp in June and a girls’ camp hosted July 15–17 by Creswell High School girls’ basketball head coach Tyler Hollingsworth.
One of those girls was basketball post/wing Emma Maness. She was a varsity/JV swing player her freshman year and now, after working hard on position play in the offseason, the rising sophomore is poised to become a key contributor on Creswell’s 2019-20 varsity squad.
”We are looking for her to play a big role,” Hollingsworth said. ”She’s been the hardest worker this offseason and it is beginning to pay dividends.”
Perhaps surprisingly, in these days where many kids feel pressure to play their sport year-round from a young age, Maness, 15, has not spent years as a hyper-dedicated basketball player.
”I played Zags (league) basketball, but not for a couple of years, and this is my first year doing camp,” she said on opening day of last week’s Creswell Girls’ Basketball Camp for middle- and high-schoolers.
But with the Lady Dawgs facing a rebuilding year, Maness recognized an opportunity to benefit her team by improving her skills and transitioning from a swing player to a key player.
”Having seven seniors graduate and only five players returning next year, I understood the need for a group of people to be ready to step up and fill those spots,” she said.
And as the only player to show up for some open gyms Hollingsworth hosted, she benefited from what were essentially free private lessons from the varsity coach.
”I worked on post moves: he’d pass the ball inside and I’d turn and face and step through,” she said. ”I also worked on making a certain amount of shots from 3-point range, because the idea is for me to be a double threat – playing in the post and stepping out to shoot threes.”
Blocking out and rebounding are additional skills she’s working on – although jumping to clear the boards must wait until her latest knee strain heals.
”I strained my knee twice: in June and back in February – but once it’s better I’ll be practicing going up for rebounds,” she said.
But while she’s spent the offseason working individually on position skills, it’s the ”teamwork aspect” that Maness said she values most in basketball, and as a middle hitter for volleyball and a first baseman for softball.
And in basketball, in particular, effective teamwork is bolstered by individual tenacity.
”I like basketball because it’s physical – especially playing inside, you have to battle to get position, battle to get a shot up,” she said. ”Basically, I’m just looking forward to next season and hopefully helping us win.”



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