Manchester Valley girls basketball needed a win for many reasons.
Not just because another loss would push the Mavericks even further away from the top of the Carroll County standings, but because Wednesday night’s game was so meaningful to the players.
It was senior night, and with a 50-15 win against Century, the Mavericks not only honored their seniors with a victory but provided a glimpse of what the program’s future might look like.
Senior or not, the ball was finding everyone on the Mavericks’ roster. Led as always by a stingy defense that pressures opponents to turn the ball over, Manchester Valley jumped out with a 10-2 run to immediately take control of the game.
“Tonight was just all about our seniors,” Emma Penczek said. “Our seniors got to play and they played amazing, they all play a big role.”
The team’s leading scorer, senior Carmaya Bowman, played a slightly different role. With her shot not falling in the first half, she impacted the game in other ways by securing rebounds, blocking shots and intercepting passes.
Though she didn’t reach her normal scoring numbers until late in the game, the senior finished with 10 points, 15 rebounds and five steals. Bowman did what she has done her entire Manchester Valley career: make winning basketball plays.
Carroll County Daily Headlines
“We don’t make every shot we take,” coach Heather DeWees said. “But for her, if she’s rebounding, playing defense and making good passes, we’re gonna win with those little things.”
The Mavericks closed with Bowman among three players scoring in double figures. Penczek and Autumn Stottlemire led the team with 11 points apiece. Both girls stood out, leading an 11-2 second-half run as Manchester Valley pulled away with the blowout victory.
Although it was senior night, Stottlemire (junior) and Penczek (sophomore) symbolized what’s next for the Manchester Valley program as it looks toward a future without Bowman, Casey Meredith, Aubrey Chopper and Luetta Seipp.
DeWees is particularly impressed with the development of Penczek and the impact she has made as the team looks toward the playoffs.
“She’s grown into the role of being our point guard and determining how fast or slow our program is gonna go,” she said. “The fact that she’s a scoring threat makes it even better. She makes things happen on both sides of the floor.”
With the win, Manchester Valley improved to 13-4 on the season. More importantly, DeWees left the game feeling her team turned a corner and persevered through a rough patch of games last week in which the Mavericks dropped two straight.
“We really have refocused and regained our confidence,” she said. “I think we’re gonna head strong into the rest of the season.”