Photo by Bill Roseberry
Roxana’s Maddy Sheraka prepares to bring the ball up court against the Civic Memorial Eagles on Jan. 5 at CM.
Every time Maddy Sheraka registers a point for the Roxana girls’ basketball team, she closes in on a record.
It’s the Shells’ all-time scoring mark and Sheraka, a 5-foot-8 senior, is within striking distance of shattering it.
Through Roxana’s first 19 games this season, Sheraka had tabulated 1,160 career points. Angela Payne, a 1996 graduate and Alton Exchange Club Player of the Year, owns the school record of 1,286 points. Terri Allen, Betsy Diamond and Jordan Davis also were 1,000-point producers for Roxana. Thus, Sheraka is part of an exclusive club.
“It was great to get my 1,000th point,” said Sheraka, who accomplished that feat earlier this season. “I was very excited about it and so was everybody in my family.
“So far, it has been my biggest accomplishment.”
Sheraka could make an even bigger statement if she can pass Payne on the scoring list. Time will tell and it could hinge on how deep the Shells go in postseason competition. Roxana is cast in the six-team Class 2A Carlyle Regional that includes Breese Central, Marquette Catholic and East Alton-Wood River.
The Shells were 11-8 through their first 19 games, including a 51-47 win over Pana last Saturday and a 46-38 victory against Gillespie on Monday. They were scheduled to play Thursday at Hillsboro. On Monday, they are at EA-WR and next Thursday, they go to Marquette.
“I would definitely like to do that,” Sheraka said of becoming the career leading scorer. “That would be a great way to leave my imprint on the program.”
Roxana coach Tammy Talbert said Sheraka has already made a major impact on Roxana basketball. Sheraka averaged 20.3 points and 6.8 rebounds in 2013-14 and is averaging more than 18 ppg this season.
Yet there’s more than just scoring points, Talbert said.
“She’s a really good role model for the other players,” Talbert added. “Maddy is a very intelligent young lady with a bright future.”
Her smarts are compelling. Sheraka, a straight-A student, is seventh in her graduating class of 130 students. She wants to go into engineering and has been accepted to the University of Missouri.
“I’m keeping my options open for basketball in college,” Sheraka said. “Academics are important to me, so I haven’t made a decision where I want to go yet.”
Talbert said Sheraka’s ability to learn and adapt have enhanced her basketball skills.
“Maddy was more of a pure shooter last year, but this year she has become more comfortable handling the ball and driving to the basket,” Talbert said. “She is able to create more on her own and she is more effective when she gets in the middle of the lane. Maddy likes to go to the hoop more now.”
Opposing teams are taking more notice of Sheraka, her coach said.
“We faced a box-and-one defense the first four games we played this season,” Talbert said. “We’ve had to make some adjustments on what we do on offense. Sometimes Maddy has to work extremely hard just so that we can get the ball in her hands.”
Sheraka noted, “I definitely feel more comfortable handling the ball this season. Sometimes I’m the point guard on the court. I’m not sure I was comfortable doing all of that last season.
“I also think that I’ve matured as a player. I feel like I’m more of a complete player now and (former Shell) Paige Stacy helped me a lot, especially working with me on my dribble driving to the basket.”
The better Sheraka plays, the better the Shells are, Talbert stressed.
“Maddy is a very coachable player and she sets the tempo for us,” Talbert said. “We can count on her and rely on her. I’m friends with Angela Payne, but I think it would be pretty cool to have Maddy become the school’s all-time leading scorer.”