Senior steadies team with consistent effort

q&a jennifer shacreaw, atholton

For 13-9 Raiders, her leadership outweighs her stats

March 01, 2009|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,

Jennifer Shacreaw's name is not going to be found at the top of the Atholton Raiders' scoring or minutes-played lists, but on the court and in the locker room, Shacreaw, one of two seniors on the Raiders' 13-9 team this season, is the lifeline to a steady, stable performance and a direct line into what coach Maureen Shacreaw, her mother, is thinking.

Jennifer Shacreaw has scored 27 points and gathered 32 rebounds in 21 games, but according to her mother, that's not where her strength lies.

"It's not the stats that define her importance to the team," said Maureen Shacreaw, who has coached the Raiders for nine years. "She is a leader by example to the younger kids. Our younger kids are our stat leaders this year, but Jen and Leeza Hayes, as seniors, set the tone for what we need to do.

"Jen's growth over the four years has been tremendous. She was a bench player her sophomore year [when Atholton won the state championship]. She rarely got time but always did the things asked. As a junior, she worked herself in to the playing rotation and got minutes in relief and, as a senior, she is a leader who calms them down and sets the tone. You know she will give you quality minutes on the floor."

The coach said her daughter's growth as a role model has come through three years of experience that has included a state championship and a runner-up performance. In the classroom, she has a 3.8 weighted grade point average and plans to attend Lewisburg University in Pennsylvania next year.

Do you like having your mom as your coach?

It's been a lot of fun playing with Mom as the coach. To see how she acts on the court in different situations. We've learned a lot about each other and gotten closer. Sometimes on court, I can see when she's getting mad because I've spent so much time with her on court and outside of school. And I tell people, "Just slow down. She's about to get mad." I can see what she's thinking before she actually has to say it, and we do it, and it's just fun to see how she develops. We all know when she's happy. She starts jumping up and down. But when she's not, she tries to hide it from us.

Do your teammates tease you about being the coach's daughter?

No. It's never really been an issue. It's just I'm there. But during tryouts, she always says, "Do not say your last name, because it makes it easier." I've never had a problem because I've always tried to stay under the radar, so no one knows she's actually my mom [at the start]. I'm just another player.

You don't feel she's tougher on you because you're her daughter?

Oh, she is. She knows I understand what she's saying, and sometimes she expects me to do more than I can. I respect that because she knows I'm capable of more than I sometimes do, and she pushes me to do what I can.

Are you going to play basketball next year?

No. I might play intramurals for fun, but not the team. I'm just going to have fun with it. It will mean more time to focus on the schoolwork than do six-hour practice schedules. I just want to have fun, meet up with some group of people that likes to play basketball and have fun doing it.

What are you going to study at Lewisburg?

I'm going to major in their forensic computer program.

Forensic computer program? What is that?

I watch all the police dramas on television. My favorite is NCIS. You see a lab tech with a computer in those shows. I was interested. A forensic computer specialist usually works with the police to find hidden documents in computers or if someone has deleted a document, it's not completely deleted and you can find out lots of stuff about it. My mom got me a book about it a long time ago, and it was interesting. This past semester, I took a couple classes at Howard Community College - Introduction to Microsoft Office and Computer Forensics.

I wanted to see what it was. It's like solving mysteries in the computer. It interested me, and I wanted to see what could be done with computers. I liked it, and I'm going to major in it.

What's your strength in basketball?

I do a good job crashing the boards all I can. I make steals and create turnovers from the other teams. There's some joy in that, knowing you've prevented the other team from scoring and at the same time giving your own team an opportunity. ... And, my role is to act as a calming influence, making sure no one looks like a deer in the headlights. I make sure everyone knows where to go and that they're paying attention even if someone screams their names. I hope I make everyone a little bit better.

What's the best thing that's happened to you this year?

When we played against Mount Hebron for the second time this year. They were ahead by one or two points, and we all pulled together and came back to win. That was a goal for me this season. I really wanted us to stay close to the really good teams this season, and we were able to do that against River Hill, and then we were finally able to beat Mount Hebron. Those were real positives for our team this season.

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