Mulroy will be the leading force for the Indians in the 2018–19 season.
Lenape High School girls basketball’s matchup against Ewing High School on Dec. 7 was just a preseason scrimmage.
The way Lenape senior Shannon Mulroy played, however, you may have thought a state championship was on the line.
Mulroy spent the scrimmage dashing up and down the floor, driving to the hoop for layups, pulling up for three-pointers, dishing passes all over the court and playing defense both inside and on the perimeter.
“It doesn’t matter to her if it’s a scrimmage or a game,” head coach Rob Hummel said. “To her, she’s on the court, the clock’s running and she wants to play well. It’s nice. You don’t see that a lot.”
Mulroy is the last full-time player left from the Indians’ 2015–16 state championship team. As a freshman that season, Mulroy played every game for Lenape and provided some extra scoring punch for the Indians. This year, Mulroy is bringing a championship mentality to a team featuring a number of younger players in the lineup.
Mulroy recognizes she will be asked to be the team’s leader this season and said she learned a lot from former teammate Kendall Keyes, who graduated last June.
“I looked up to Kendall a lot last year; she was the main leader so I learned a lot from her,” Mulroy said. “So now, this year, I’m going to try and step into her position and do what she did as a leader.”
Hummel is hoping Mulroy’s mentality will rub off on the rest of her teammates. He said the intensity Mulroy showed in the scrimmage was just a normal day on the court for her.
“She’s not happy with the way she played (in the scrimmage),” Hummel said. “That’s who she is, she’s a competitor. She wants to win for her team, she wants to play well every day. Nobody’s harder on Shannon than Shannon.”
“It’s good to see her intensity,” Hummel later added. “We really want that in practice. The young girls…they weren’t even around (for the state championship). They have no idea. She knows what it takes to bring energy and make a practice a good practice.”
Mulroy said it’s going to take more than her for Lenape to fill the void left by Keyes, who scored more than 1,000 points during her time with the Indians.
“Kendall’s a great player, so it’s a big hole with her leaving,” Mulroy said. “So we’re just going to fill that hole as a team.”
Lenape brings back a ton of depth at guard, including junior Regan King and senior Nevaeh Sutton. Hummel is hoping Sutton will be able to play more at guard this year after she spent considerable time at forward in 2018–19.
“There was a lot of pressure on her because she was really our only inside presence and her strength is as a guard,” Hummel said. “She can shoot, she can drive and she can defend at the guard, but we just didn’t have any size, so we depended on her a lot.”
This year, sophomore Dyonna Wess is expected to help Lenape out at the forward position. Wess missed her freshman season recovering from a knee injury, but Hummel said she has looked good for Lenape in the preseason.
“This year, she came in ready to go and she’s given us good minutes already in the first two scrimmages,” Hummel said.
Lenape recognizes being successful this season won’t be easy. The Indians play in the same division as Cherokee High School, who has made it to the South Jersey Group IV final three years in a row. However, Mulroy is confident the Indians have enough talent to win a lot of games this season.
“Cherokee is obviously great with (Ava and Alexa Therien),” Mulroy said. “I think they’ll be our biggest rivals just like the past couple of years, but I think we’ll still do pretty well.”