The Crane girls basketball team is off to a 15-3 start this season while playing against an exceedingly difficult schedule.
One of those tough games came on Monday night when the Pirates took on Class 1 No. 1 Walnut Grove on the road.
Crane entered the half down two points on a hostile court with many young faces in the locker room. Sixth-year head coach Jeremy Mullins knew exactly who he would need to lead the Pirates back; his lone senior Maggie McMenamy.
"I always talk to her about leadership (and) her role in leading the team," Mullins said. "Last night (against Walnut Grove) it was really evident. She didn't miss a shot. I got the opportunity to watch the game film last night and she was always talking. She gets people to where they need to be at the right times."
CLICK HERE FOR A RECAP, PHOTOS AND VIDEO OF THE GAME
McMenamy logged a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds in Crane’s 55-46 win over the No. 1 team in Class 1.
McMenamy is used to being the oldest person on the court for the Pirates. Last season she was the lone junior with no seniors and this year is the lone senior. As a result, McMenamy has been thrust into a leadership role that she has grown into over the last year.
"She has learned (to be a leader). Some of it is natural, but for the most part she has had to learn," Mullins said. "We have had a couple talks and so have my assistants with her and Coach Wilson down at C of O really had a good talk with her this summer about leadership. She has grown into that role."
The Crane senior is looked upon by her teammates to buoy them in all facets of the game.
"They call her their captain," Mullins said. "Emotionally we have had a conversation that if you aren't here then they aren't here. We try to get her here every day mentally and physically."
Emotional leadership is a facet the Crane senior knows is important for the success of the Pirates.
"Emotionally I have to be ready for the game," McMenamy said. "I feel as if I set the mood for everybody else."
Crane, currently ranked No. 5 in Class 2 by the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association, still relies heavily upon a team effort outside of McMenamy.
"We have a unique mix of one senior, we have some solid juniors, sophomores and freshmen that came in and helped us this year," Mullins said. "We have 14 talented individuals. What makes them even more special than their skill set is the fact that they are willing to work hard and work as a team."
But a deep run in the playoffs will be largely influenced by Crane’s lone senior.
"I think she is going to be a big part of the story and I hope it doesn't end any time soon," Mullins said.
Getting to know Maggie McMenamy:
FAVORITE ATHLETE - Jackie StilesFAVORITE MOVIE - "The Goonies"
FAVORITE FOOD - Steak dinner
FAVORITE ACTOR - Liam Neeson
MOST DISLIKED ATHLETE - Lance Armstrong
FAVORITE TEAM - St. Louis Cardinals
Maggie is also involved in Student Council. She would like to pursue a degree in physical therapy after high school, but before then she would like to lead her team to a Class 2 state championship.She earned all-tournament in Ash Grove, Kickapoo and the Pink and White Lady Classic this season. Maggie was also all-region in volleyball as a senior.