WEST SUNBURY, Pa. (EYT/D9) — Catherine Kelly is a gym rat.
In more ways than one.
Kelly, an incoming junior at Moniteau High School, is never far from the inside of a gym. A basketball is always in her hands. She’s always shooting. Always dribbling. Always working on her game.
She’s played basketball since she was in kindergarten — she doesn’t even remember those early days of hoops. Kelly just knows the sport has been special to her for the entirety of her life.
“I’ve loved it ever since I started playing, and I just can’t get enough of it,” Kelly said. “I am a very competitive person, so I like that aspect of it. I like winning. I hate losing.”
Kelly also plays for the Gym Rats Performance Training AAU team. She makes the trip to Pittsburgh three times a week for practices and travels all over the region for tournaments.
Kelly relishes the competition and the chance to get better.
“It’s been very valuable for me,” Kelly said. “We go out and play in these big exposure tournaments in front of college coaches. Playing against great competition has helped me get ready for the high school season.”
Kelly had a breakout campaign as a freshman at Moniteau and followed that up with another strong season as a sophomore on a very young Warriors’ team.
Kelly averaged 13.1 points per game last season for Moniteau, which went 11-11, losing to Punxsutawney in the District 9 Class 3A semifinals.
Moniteau started started as many as five sophomores at times.
The growing pains were there, but so was the potential. Kelly saw both.
She’s also seeing the improvement already during summer league games.
“I think we can be a lot better,” Kelly said. “We already looked better and more experienced on the floor in summer league because we had a whole year to play together.”
Actually, Kelly and fellow incoming juniors Davina Pry, Allie Pry, Kendall Sankey and Abbey Jewart have been together since the second grade.
“We’re pretty close,” Kelly said. “Winning games and seeing the progress this summer will really help our confidence, especially after losing that playoff game (to the Chucks) pretty bad.”
Kelly has also been working hard on her own skills.
Quick to the rim and also adept at banging down shots from the perimeter, Kelly has been knuckling down on improving her mid-range game this summer.
The 5-foot-7 point guard, who also plays off the ball, is hoping to become an even bigger threat.
“I need to have the ability to score more from that middle ground,” Kelly said. “It’s been hard, but it’s definitely getting better. I can already tell it’s improved my game a lot.”
THE KELLY FILE
NAME: Catherine Kelly
SPORTS: Basketball and track and field
2021-22 HIGHLIGHTS: Scored 13.1 points per game to lead a young Moniteau team that fell to Punxsutawney in the District 9 Class 3A playoffs.
Q: What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned while playing sports?
A: No matter what you do, sometimes people will just never like you.
Q: Who is your biggest sports role model and why?
A: (Moniteau graduate) Sara Hull because I really admire her work ethic during high school and her college sports career, being able to balance both school and sports. When I was younger and Sara played basketball at Moniteau, she was my idol.
Q: Have you had a chance to talk to her, tell her that she’s your idol?
A: Yes. She’s actually one of our volunteer coaches and comes in during the summer to scrimmage against us.
Q: What was her reaction when you told her she was your idol? She must have been flattered?
A: Oh, yeah. She was so flattered.
Q: How much do you learn from Sara and other former Moniteau players when they come back to help?
A: So much. When Sara comes it’s so nice playing against her because she pushes me and all of us to be better. It’s really cool when former players come back. Most of them have graduated college and it’s nice to see their perspective on high school sports and how it helped them get to where they want to be today.
Q: Where would you like to be after high school?
A: I’d love to play basketball in college if that opportunity came.
Q: You are also on the track and field team at Moniteau. What does track do for you?
A: It definitely gives me a chance to decompress from basketball. Track, there’s not as much pressure on me. It’s just kind of go and be yourself and do better than you did the last time.
Q: Who would play you in a movie or TV show about your life and why would she be the perfect choice?
A: Emma Stone because she is witty, sarcastic and has a really good sense of style.
Q: What are your goals for your junior year.
A: I want to win the D9 and KSAC championship (in basketball). There’s still a lot of really good teams in the league, but I think we’re one of those good teams and we can stay in every game, even against the really good teams in our league. I think we can do it.