In girls’ high school basketball, St. Mary’s senior Maria Mann is having an outstanding season on the boards. In fact, she is leading the entire state in rebounds per game.
This season, Mann has been one of St. Mary’s most reliable players.
“She’s always been our best rebounder,” head coach BJ Etzold said. “I think she’s had four or five straight games of double-digit rebounds and a couple of double-doubles now. We need her out on the floor.”
The senior leads the state with 11 boards a game, which is a tenth of a rebound better than the Fargo Shanley’s Reile Payne.
“Rebounding has always been my main role,” Mann said. “Once I can get the boards and just have offensive putbacks that really helps for me.”
Maria said under the boards things get pretty physical, but that is where her 6-foot frame comes in handy.
“I guess just being a big center has helped us a lot and having two, 6-foot girls,” Mann said. “Not a lot of teams have that. Being able to use our size to our advantage has been really important.”
And it’s not just stature that helps her get loose balls, she improved her footwork this offseason.
“I’ve been working on being faster as a defensive player because there are not a lot of girls my size,” Mann said. “I have to be better at closing out and taking shooters and smaller girls that I’m not used to always defending.”
She is also close to averaging a double-double with 9.8 points per contest, making her invaluable asset to this team as they get ready to make a run at State.
“You’ll notice the offensive rebounds and the putbacks shet gets,” Etzold said. “In Williston, you look back and she had 12, 13 rebounds. You just expect her to get those defensive rebounds.”
St. Mary’s travel to Watford City for a game at 4:45 p.m.