July 12, 2024

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

That’s totally different from “monitor quick,” which the sophomore guard/ahead understands from working the 400-meter sprint within the spring.

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

“Whenever you’re working on the court docket, it doesn’t appear as lengthy,” Manley mentioned. “However whenever you’re working on the monitor, for some cause, it feels so lengthy. You run eternally.”

The 5-foot-10 Manley used her velocity and quickness Friday night time to report a double-double because the Astros earned a 49-40 South Suburban Purple 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.

With regards to Manley, Shepard coach Rick Gamino mentioned the adage is true — you’ll be able to’t train velocity and quickness. However there’s one other think about play for her.

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

“She’s capable of anticipate and see performs earlier than they occur. She’s acquired 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, nonetheless, has been appreciable, based on 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 appears 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 at all times there to calm me down and saying it’s OK,” Manley mentioned of Greene. “She’s a great teammate.”

Shepard's Mia Stokes (2) works to the basket between Oak Lawn's Danielle Dempsey (14) and Lamia Quinones (3) during a South Suburban Red game in Oak Lawn on Friday, Jan. 26, 2024.

Greene mentioned Manley is “fearless sophomore,” and the most effective gamers within the convention. That’s evidenced by the actual fact she leads the crew 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 form of let her do her personal factor and watch,” Greene mentioned. “If she’s down on herself or if she’s not seeing issues I might even see, I support and assist her.

“However normally we’re on the identical web page and have good on court docket chemistry, so it’s normally only a few 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 crew after which labored her means 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 form of pushed me the years over COVID to be taught all of the various things,” she mentioned.

Manley’s sport 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 check in school — structure. She want to design and construct homes sometime.

“She positively desires to be taking part in,” Gamino mentioned of Manley’s subsequent step past Shepard. “However we’ll see what occurs. She’s acquired a whole lot of time to work and proceed to get higher.

“If she grows the way in which she did from freshman yr to sophomore yr, the sky’s the restrict.”

Gregg Voss is a contract reporter for the Each day Southtown.