April 23, 2024

Jessica Manley prides herself on being “basketball quick” for Shepard.

That’s completely different from “observe quick,” which the sophomore guard/ahead understands from operating the 400-meter sprint within the spring.

Which one does she favor? It’s no contest, in her thoughts.

“Once you’re operating on the courtroom, it doesn’t appear as lengthy,” Manley stated. “However while you’re operating on the observe, for some motive, it feels so lengthy. You run ceaselessly.”

The 5-foot-10 Manley used her pace and quickness Friday night time to document a double-double because the Astros earned a 49-40 South Suburban Pink victory over host Oak Garden.

Manley scored 15 factors — together with three 3-pointers — and grabbed 10 rebounds for Shepard (12-8, 7-2). Senior ahead Emma Greene added 18 factors and in addition made three 3-pointers.

In terms of Manley, Shepard coach Rick Gamino stated the adage is true — you’ll be able to’t train pace and quickness. However there’s one other consider play for her.

“She’s very coachable,” Gamino stated. “We train our protection a really intense method, and she or he believes in that. She is aware of how vital her protection is and the way vital staying out of foul hassle is.

“She’s in a position to anticipate and see performs earlier than they occur. She’s bought that basketball instinct.”

Oak Garden (12-12, 6-2), in the meantime, was led in scoring by senior guard Maeve Hassett, who transformed 5 3-pointers and completed with 17 factors and 5 rebounds. Junior ahead Danielle Dempsey added eight factors and 4 rebounds.

That is Manley’s second season on varsity and second as a starter. The distinction between the 2 seasons, nevertheless, has been appreciable, in response to Gamino.

Issues that may frustrate Manley final season don’t faze her as a lot as a sophomore. She continues to get smarter and higher at that, which speaks to rising management.

It’s one thing Manley, who seems to be as much as Greene, aspires to be.

“She teaches me to push myself, and if I’m ever in my head or one thing, she’s all the time there to calm me down and saying it’s OK,” Manley stated of Greene. “She’s teammate.”

Greene stated Manley is “fearless sophomore,” and probably the greatest gamers within the convention. That’s evidenced by the very fact she leads the staff in scoring, averaging 17 factors, and in addition in rebounds with six.

However there’s extra to Manley. On the finish of the third quarter Friday, she performed in-your-face protection on junior guard Teagan Krzystof, stopping a buzzer-beating 3-pointer.

“I simply type of let her do her personal factor and watch,” Greene stated. “If she’s down on herself or if she’s not seeing issues I may even see, I assist and assist her.

“However normally we’re on the identical web page and have good on courtroom chemistry, so it’s normally just some phrases and we’re locked in on the identical factor.”

Shepard's Jessica Manley (20) drives to the basket against Oak Lawn's Teagan Krzystof (1) during a South Suburban Red game in Oak Lawn on Friday, Jan. 26, 2024.

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Manley began in basketball with a Blue Island recreation staff after which labored her method as much as the Homewood Angels AAU program, the place she set to work with coach Timel Moore. He had an enormous affect on her.

“He actually type of pushed me the years over COVID to be taught all of the various things,” she stated.

Manley’s recreation plan is to play in school, though as a sophomore, she’s undecided fairly but the place she desires to be.

One factor Manley feels she’s certain of is what she desires to review in school — structure. She wish to design and construct homes sometime.

“She undoubtedly desires to be enjoying,” Gamino stated of Manley’s subsequent step past Shepard. “However we’ll see what occurs. She’s bought numerous time to work and proceed to get higher.

“If she grows the best way she did from freshman 12 months to sophomore 12 months, the sky’s the restrict.”

Gregg Voss is a contract reporter for the Day by day Southtown.