Freeport’s Sidney Shemanski named Valley News Dispatch Girls Basketball Player of the Year

Saturday, April 6, 2019 | 5:15 PM

Valley News Dispatch Girls Basketball Player of the Year

Sidney Shemanski

Jr., Guard, Freeport

Sidney Shemanski does just about everything at Freeport: soccer, where she topped 20 goals in each of her first three seasons; basketball, where she’s a three-year starter; and track and field, where she finished as runner-up in the WPIAL and state in the 800-meter run.

It makes sense, then, that Shemanski did a little bit of everything this winter for the Freeport girls basketball team. She led the Yellowjackets in scoring (14.6 points per game), rebounding (9.0), assists (4.1) and steals (3.6).

The all-around effort by Shemanski helped Freeport finish second in Section 1-4A behind eventual WPIAL champion North Catholic; the Yellowjackets (18-5) bowed out in the first round of the playoffs with a three-point loss to Quaker Valley.

Part of a strong junior class that became starters as freshmen, Shemanski helped Freeport reach the WPIAL playoffs each of her first three seasons. That group — which also includes identical twins Maddie and Samantha Clark and newcomer Harley Holloway, a transfer from Kiski Area — will be aiming for a deeper run next season.

Shemanski’s all-around contributions made her the consensus choice as the Valley News Dispatch’s Girls Basketball Player of the Year. While she’s looking to get better for next season, she did plenty to deserve the award in 2018-19.

How do you feel the season went?

I think we had a very good season. We started off very strong. Our team went very far — not as far as we hoped to, but we made it into playoffs. I was just very proud of our team and how we did and how we played together.

Does any moment or game stick out for you?

I guess the main game that we were hoping to win was North Catholic (Jan. 28), and we were up by one (at halftime), which was really crazy for us because North Catholic is a really good team. I think that’s the main game that stuck out to us because we played phenomenal in that game. (North Catholic won, 71-37).

How difficult is it to play in a section with North Catholic?

Very, very tough. Our section ranges from teams like Highlands, which doesn’t have a lot of talent, to playing teams like North Catholic that obviously has a ton of talent. It’s very difficult. But it’s also good to have them in our section to push us, as well.

Your team was led mainly by juniors who started since freshman year; how does that experience help?

Well, we have actually been playing together even before that. All of my junior class, we’ve been together since elementary school. I think just playing together for that amount of time, we’ve really come together and we know how each other plays. We click like that. It’s insane. But it’s also great because Maddie (Clark), Sam (Clark) and I have been starting since freshmen, so we’ve been getting that experience with varsity as well, which is great. I think it’s just awesome that we’ve been playing together, and we only have one year left, so it’s kind of sad.

What kind of motivation will you have for senior year?

I think we’ll have a ton of motivation being that most of the team are juniors. We’re going to be coming out there, and it’s going to be our last year. I think it’s going to drive us to get far next season in WPIALs, and maybe even make it to states, as well.

What was your biggest team strength this year?

I think we have all-around people. We have amazing athletes who are in three sports and all that, and I just think the athleticism of each player — the speed, the agility, and especially our defense. Our defense came along together this season. And every person on the team was a shooter, so I think that really helped, as well.

How busy do your three sports (soccer, basketball and track) keep you?

Insanely busy. I really don’t have any time in between, maybe a few days. It’s stressful going between each sport, but I love it. It’s kind of hard sometimes because it’s different conditioning, running on the soccer field to running in the gym and then running at track. It’s insanely different, but I love it.

Do those sports help you in basketball?

Oh, for sure. Running all the time in soccer definitely conditions me for basketball. But from using all feet and no hands to all hands and no feet is definitely a different change. I know a few practices in basketball I’ll use my feet, and I’ll be like, “Oh my gosh, wrong sport.” (Laughs).

What do you think is your best skill?

I think my best skill is visualizing the court. I see the players very well. I’ve been a point guard since middle school, and I’ve just had a really good eye for people, passing the ball and distributing. I led the team in assists this year, since my freshman year as well. I think I just do a really good job bringing the team together. I was captain since my sophomore year. I’m not a big shooter, but I had a lot of points under the basket, as well.

Any areas you’re looking to get better at?

Definitely shooting, I’d say. I’m at 800-and-some points. I think I only need 199 to get 1,000.

Is that a goal for you?

Oh, yeah.

If Freeport had a team-wide game of HORSE, who would win.

I don’t know. That’s so hard. Our main scorers are me, Harley (Holloway), Maddie and Sam. And I could not tell you. I think we’re all equally shooters.

Who’s got the best trick shot ability?

Probably Maddie.

Do you have a favorite basketball player?

To be honest, I don’t really watch sports. It shocks everyone. The main thing I watch is hockey, so I guess I look up to Sidney Crosby.

How do you feel about sharing a name with him?

That’s not the only reason why I like him. (Laughs.) We have the same “i” in our name, not the “y,” but just the good reputation that Sidney Crosby has being with the team and captain and always giving his support towards others and donating things, I think is awesome. That’s why I really look up to him, as well as he’s an amazing player on the Pittsburgh Penguins.

So instead of watching sports, what are your hobbies?

I think I have a really artistic side to me. Any free time I have, sometimes I draw and do that. And I guess (I) just watch Netflix. I have no downtime whatsoever in my daily life. I just come home from school, do my homework and then go to sports right away.

Do you like to draw anything in particular?

Nothing specific. If I just have some free time, I just draw pretty much anything.

Do you want to pursue art as a degree?

No, I actually was hoping to get a degree in chemistry or pharmacy or something like that.

What’s your go-to show on Netflix?

I like a lot of comedies. Anytime I put on Netflix, I go straight to “Friends.”

Do you have a favorite character?

Probably Rachel Green, which is Jennifer Aniston.

Do you have a favorite episode?

No. I like all of them.

How many times have you watched them?

A lot. I’ve watched every season twice.

What are your plans for spring? Just a lot of track?

Yeah. In previous years I’ve done Cup soccer, and I tried to do AAU basketball, but that was too much and I was too worried about being injured. My main focus is track this year, and I hope to go to WPIALs again as well as states.

First team All-Stars

Madeline Clark


5-6, Jr., Guard

One half of Freeport’s identical twin tandem on the perimeter, Clark finished second on the team in scoring (12.2 ppg) and pulled down 4.1 rebounds.

Samantha Clark


5-6, Jr., Guard

The other half of the twin tandem, Clark led the Yellowjackets in 3-point shooting, shooting 42 percent and making 44; averaged 10.8 ppg.

Kennedie Montue


5-10, So., Forward

Smooth forward led Alle-Kiski Valley in scoring with 18.4 ppg and added 7 rebounds, leading Plum back to WPIAL Class 5A playoffs.

Kaylen Sharrow


5-11, Sr., Forward

All-around player was rock of stability for young and injury-plagued team, scoring 17.5 ppg and pulling down 8.9 rebounds.

Anna Solomon

Deer Lakes

5-3, Sr., Guard

Strong shooter could hit from way downtown; averaged a team-high 12 points and 4 steals, helping Lancers win a playoff game for first time in six years.

Second team All-Stars

Reese Hasley

Deer Lakes, fr., 5-5, G

First-year player scored 11 ppg but excelled on defense, getting 4 steals per game.

Harley Holloway

Freeport, jr., 5-5, G

Kiski Area transfer scored 10.6 ppg and shot 39 percent on 3-pointers, making 40.

Francesca Lio

Riverview, jr., 5-9, F

Strong post player averaged a double-double with 10.8 points and 11.8 rebounds.

Maddy Moore

Apollo-Ridge, sr., 5-9, G

Vikings’ all-time 3-point leader shot 41 percent from outside, scoring 12 ppg.

Hannah Potter

Kiski Area, jr., 5-4, G

Third-year starter led inexperienced team, averaging a team-high 14.9 ppg.

Third team All-Stars

Rylee Eaton

Apollo-Ridge, jr., 5-10, G/F

Nevaeh Ewing

Knoch, so., 5-10, G

Allison Fisher

Burrell, fr., 5-9, G

Ellie Schwartzman

Fox Chapel, so., 5-11, F

Kat Yurjevich

Leechburg, sr., 5-5, G

Doug Gulasy is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Doug at 412-388-5830, or via Twitter .

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