Wood senior enjoying championship run

Ready for ac­tion: Shan­non Kelly might not be on the court when the game starts, but she’s had a big hand in help­ing the Vik­ings to a strong sea­son. PHOTO: SHAN­NON KELLY

The Arch­bish­op Wood High School girls bas­ket­ball team has had a strong year.

Not only did the Vik­ings ad­vance to the Cath­ol­ic League cham­pi­on­ship game be­fore fall­ing in a close game to Car­din­al O’Hara, but they won the Dis­trict 12 Class AAAAA title and ad­vanced to the state play­offs.

To make it that far, the team needs su­per­stars.

It also needs play­ers who make sure the su­per­stars are pre­pared.

That’s where Shan­non Kelly comes in.

Kelly is a seni­or guard, and when she’s on the court, she’s re­spons­ible for do­ing all the little things that add up to big things like cham­pi­on­ship game ap­pear­ances and 20-win sea­sons.

And when she’s not on the court, well, she’s do­ing the little things that help teams win.

“I don’t play a lot of minutes, so when I’m on the bench, I’m watch­ing, cheer­ing and get­ting ready to play,” the Fox Chase res­id­ent said. “I would like to play more. It’s not about who starts, it’s about who helps the team, and I try to help the team any way I can.

“I try to push the girls as hard as I can in prac­tice be­cause you get bet­ter in prac­tice. We work hard in prac­tice and the girls who aren’t starters have to work hard be­cause that’s how the starters get bet­ter, by play­ing against us.”

On Sat­urday, the Vik­ings de­feated West Chester Hende­r­son 32-23 in a first-round game. The Vik­ings will meet Bish­op Sha­na­han in a second-round af­fair on Wed­nes­day.

Kelly has been a mem­ber of the Wood pro­gram since she trans­ferred in as a sopho­more. She made the move from Cal­vary Chris­ti­an to Wood on the ad­vice of fel­low seni­or Vik­ing Cas­sie Se­bold.

It is one she’s glad she made.

“I was ex­cited when I came here be­cause I knew they had a good bas­ket­ball team and I was happy I was go­ing to play with my friends,” Kelly said. “We won the dis­trict cham­pi­on­ship all three years, and had great teams every year. It’s been really good.”

Grow­ing up, Kelly al­ways played bas­ket­ball, but for the most part it wasn’t her true pas­sion. In fact, she didn’t ded­ic­ate her life to the sport un­til she was in high school.

“I didn’t play ser­i­ously un­til I got to high school,” said Kelly, who plays for Fen­cor’s AAU squad. “When I got older, I star­ted lik­ing it more. When I got to Wood, I star­ted tak­ing it very ser­i­ously. It’s fun be­cause we’ve been win­ning.”

Kelly has been win­ning in oth­er ways.

She’s a mem­ber of Ath­letes Help­ing Ath­letes, where play­ers team up with spe­cial-needs ath­letes to form a win­ning com­bin­a­tion.

Kelly gets as much out of the pro­gram as her sidekicks.

“We do things like shoot around, and once a year we have a two-hour ses­sion with them,” Kelly said. “It’s a lot of fun. They seem to have a good time, and we have a good time. 

“It’s something the whole team loves. It’s good to help out, but we’re hav­ing fun while we’re do­ing it.”

When she’s not dish­ing out as­sists on the bas­ket­ball court, she’s mak­ing sure wed­dings go smoothly at the Know­lton Man­sion.

“It’s a job, wed­dings are a lot of run­ning around, we do a little bit of everything,” said Kelly, who doesn’t work dur­ing bas­ket­ball sea­son. “We cater events, mostly wed­dings and things like that. They’re fun to work. But we’re al­ways run­ning when we’re do­ing them.”

Next year, she’ll con­tin­ue run­ning when she at­tends Im­macu­lata, where she’ll con­tin­ue her bas­ket­ball ca­reer.

She won’t be alone. Her older broth­er is there and he en­joys it, and from everything she’s ex­per­i­enced, Kelly loves it, too.

“I vis­ited and loved it and then I had an overnight and I loved it,” Kelly said. “When I went there, I liked it. I liked the bas­ket­ball team. It just felt right when I was there, I liked everything about it, and the coach was very nice.”

Kelly is un­sure about what she’ll ma­jor in, but there’s a pos­sib­il­ity she’ll fol­low in her broth­er’s foot­steps and take up crim­in­al justice. 

That oc­cu­pa­tion runs in the fam­ily. Her fath­er is a po­lice of­ficer.

But she’ll also con­tin­ue to learn about bas­ket­ball.

“I think I would like (coach­ing),” Kelly said. “You learn a lot while play­ing. I learn a lot when I’m watch­ing, when I’m not play­ing. When you’re not play­ing, it’s very im­port­ant to watch be­cause you can learn things. And coaches have to help their play­ers. That would be something I would have fun do­ing.” ••

Joe Ma­son can be reached at 215-354-3035 or jma­son@bsmphilly.com

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