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Nemecek’s persistence paying off at MP

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Posted: Friday, January 15, 2010 12:00 am

Over the past three years Katie Nemecek has stuck it out through an accumulative 17-59 record with Mountain Pointe’s girls basketball team.

Normally, that wouldn’t be easy to endure and some players might have thrown in the towel and moved on to other ventures.

But the Pride senior, who has played on the varsity squad since her freshman season, hasn’t wavered despite going through three coaching changes.

Instead, Nemecek has been working with a personal trainer since the summer to help her improve through her senior season.

“Basketball is a passion and I just really get into it no matter what,” Nemecek said. “I’ve been training for basketball and that’s my main focus.”

Things have been improving for the Pride under coach Trevor Neider, who was an assistant coach the past two years.

“This is my third coach so I guess I’m just used to the change,” Nemecek said. “Compared to my freshman year things are more settled and focused. We have more team bonding in practice and have learned to accept each other’s abilities.”

As the only senior with three years of varsity experience, Nemecek was ready to step into a leadership role with other seniors like Gabby Johnson, Josalynn Tallsalt, Laura McCollum and newcomer Shanice Henderson.

“Since I’ve been on the varsity for four years I guess the biggest thing is to lead the team and do what I can to make sure we’re going in the right direction,” Nemecek said.

And she has done that and more, according to Neider.

“She’s an athlete and she can do a little of everything, so that really helps,” Neider said. “She plays center for us and she’s only 5-foot-9, or 5-10 if we’re lucky, but she’s strong, she’s quick, and she can move. She can cover a lot of spots for us.”

Earlier this month against Tucson Ironwood Ridge, Nemecek scored 23 points, had 18 rebounds, five blocks and four steals.

“She can turn it up when she needs to,” Neider said. “At the end of the game we just give her the ball.”

Earlier in her high school career Nemecek also ran the 100- and 300-meter hurdles for the Pride track and field team.

A hip injury during her sophomore year steered her toward focusing solely on basketball.

The Pride came off a 3-21 record last season to win the Queen Creek Invitational basketball tournament early this season.

“Winning certainly helps,” Nemecek said. “We’re stronger and, overall, better this year. We know what our roles are and we’re more confident. We’re going for the region title.”

She hasn’t been able to say that with sincerity since she put on a Pride uniform.

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Jason P. Skoda
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