December 21, 1996 in Washington Voices

Wv Girls Count On Boost Off The Bench Sherry Shollenberger Comes Into Games With A Head Of Steam

By The Spokesman-Review

West Valley’s girls basketball roster is dotted with athletes of proven talent. But it is unsung player Sherry Shollenberger who, said coach Mark Kuipers, is the Eagle catalyst.

“She provides the emotion and scoring off the bench that we need,” said Kuipers.

Shollenberger did not play basketball, or any other organized sport, until the seventh grade at Centennial Middle School.

For two years she was on junior varsity, playing simply for the camaraderie.

“I liked it because my friends were in it,” she said. “And it was something to keep me busy. I like being active.”

In high school, because of uncommonly hard work, Shollenberger began a transformation that has helped her rival her more skilled companions.

Last year, she became an integral part of the WV varsity. This year the senior athlete has already scored in double figures twice.

“She is truly a self-made player, a coach’s player,” said Kuipers. “She’s been such a hard worker, putting in countless minutes before and after practices.”

Shollenberger admits that she wasn’t very good at basketall. She credits WV freshman coach April (Cline) Young, a former Eagle and Boise State standout now teaching and coaching at rival Cheney, with her emergence.

“My frosh year was when I started to improve,” she said. “April helped me a lot.”

Her basketball playing friends convinced her to join them in soccer, which she did for conditioning. She made the varsity basketball team her junior year.

“Last year Sherry was a really nice surprise,” said Kuipers.

He discovered her strength was the ability to come off the bench and give the team an instant lift.

Starting or subbing, it doesn’t matter to Shollenberger.

“I like coming off the bench better,” she said. “I’m not caught up in starting. If I don’t I can still contribute.”

The team has plenty of gifted athletes who have helped soccer, softball and track teams win league championships.

Players like Shollenberger’s classmates Cindy Simpson, Dawn Salfer, Kiesha Sowers and Stacey Roberts, and juniors Gabby McClintock and Chantelle Frost have been all-stars in various sports.

They’ve yet to fulfill that promise in basketball. This year, said Shollenberger, can be different.

“Last year not everyone got along as well as we do this year - you know girls gossip a lot,” she said. “There’s something different out there. We want it so bad.”

Improving on little skills, individually and as a team, will make the difference, said Shollenberger.

She must play better perimeter defense and improve her shooting fundamentals. If it means working extra hard, Shollenberger will do so.

“I always like to be good at what I do,” she said. “I like to feel that I’ve accomplished something.”

Shollenberger already has.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo

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