MEDFORD – Shannon Mulroy had to wait for her turn to become the floor and emotional leader of the Lenape High School basketball team.
Now that she has assumed that role, Mulroy is taking full advantage of her opportunities. The senior has been putting together big numbers on a nightly basis and Tuesday proved to be no exception.
Mulroy showed off an array of passing, ball-handling and rebounding skills in leading her team to a 55-30 non-league victory over previously undefeated Sterling.
Oh, and she also led all scorers with 21 points, including a pair of 3-point goals.
“She does a lot of things,” said Lenape coach Rob Hummel. “She shoots `3s,’ she gets to the basket, dumpoff, steals. She makes her foul shots down the stretch, so there’s not much she can’t do.”
She led Lenape, the consensus No. 1 team in South Jersey to its 10th win in a row.
This is the first time in her scholastic career that Mulroy can be considered a true team leader.
She has been a long-time contributor to what has traditionally been one of South Jersey’s best teams, but she played the first few seasons of her career in the shadow of Kendall Keyes.
Before she graduated last season, Keyes was looked upon as one of the best players ever to come through the Lenape program, and she served as a role-model for the younger players.
“Watching Kendall as a senior, she was a great leader,” Mulroy said. “She was a great player for our team with everything she brought to the table. I just tried to step into her role this year and do whatever I can to help the team.”
Mulroy’s talents have been noticed.
“She’s excellent,” said Sterling coach Kylie Marchese. “I love the way she competes on the floor. You can tell she just has that fire in her belly. No matter what the score is, shes going to go hard. She’s going to go 100 percent.”
Sterling came into the game with a 12-0 record, and Hummel thought it was important that his team take an early stand in order to establish the momentum.
“We looked at this as a challenge game,” Hummel said. “They came at us quickly and put up nine points in the first quarter and I was a little nervous.
“But we made a couple of adjustments and answered the challenge. I though we played pretty well after that.”
Latanya Berry scored four of her nine points in the first quarter when Sterling got off to an early 9-6 lead, but it didn’t take long for Lenape to gain control of the game.
Mulroy scored seven points in the quarter as the Indians closed the first quarter with a 9-0 run and then blew the game open with a 12-2 surge in the second quarter.
Afterward, Marchese was impressed by the way the Lenape team performed, saying the outcome would serve as a learning experience for her team.
“They’re a great team and they showed that today,” the coach said. “They run their stuff to perfection and I told my team that’s what we want to be.
“If we want to beat a great team we have to learn to do the things that they do.”
While Mulroy led the way she got a lot of support from her teammates. Nevaeh Sutton contributed 13 points to the attack, while Kianna Goswell chipped in with 10.
Iamani Holloway led Sterling with 10 points.
Lenape 55, Sterling 30
Sterling 9 2 14 5 - 30
Lenape 15 12 22 6 -55
S: Nia Holloway 4, Jess Johnson 4, Imani Holloway 10, Latanya Berry 9, Marlee Syer 1, Jaiden Haris 2
L: Shannon Mulroy 21, Nevaeh Sutton 13, Regan King 7, Dyonna Wess 1, Olivia Johntsone 3, Kiana Gosnell 10.