WEST FARGO — Maggie Manson graduated from West Fargo Sheyenne High School on June 2. By June 16, she was at the University of North Dakota taking an online psychology class and playing women's basketball with the Fighting Hawks.

She was able to get a graduation party before her actual graduation. The two weeks between her graduation and moving to UND was spent strength training, shooting and conditioning.

Not exactly the average summer vacation for a teenager.

"I was obviously nervous because you don't know what to expect," Manson said. "I appreciated the time I had in Fargo, but I was excited to get to UND and start the ball rolling."

Maggie Manson dribbles the ball Tuesday, July 16, during the North Dakota Lions all-star girls basketball game at West Fargo High school. Meagan Deanne / The Forum
Maggie Manson dribbles the ball Tuesday, July 16, during the North Dakota Lions all-star girls basketball game at West Fargo High school. Meagan Deanne / The Forum

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Manson had one more high school basketball experience Tuesday, playing in the 38th edition of the Lions All-Star Basketball Series at West Fargo High School. The idea that this would be the official end of her high school career certainly hit her.

"I think it's a really cool opportunity to finish a high school career in this way," Manson said. "It' just a cool experience and a great closing to high school basketball."

Sheyenne girls basketball coach Brent Hintz is still adjusting to life after Manson. He was in the crowd Monday at Bismarck Legacy High School to see Manson score 11 points, nine of which came on 3-pointers, in the first game of the all-star series. He was also there Tuesday to see her score nine points in a 95-66 Class A win, as Class A swept the series.

For the last five seasons, the point guard for Sheyenne has been Manson. She's the top scorer to ever play at Sheyenne and was named to the all-state first team as a senior, averaging 15.3 points, 3.5 assists, two rebounds and two steals per game. The Mustangs finished fourth at the North Dakota Class A state tournament her senior year.

Hintz admitted it was weird not having her around at summer camps.

"It's always weird seeing them play in a different color, but reality sets in at graduation," Hintz said. "She played for us for five years, so we've really known nothing but having Maggie on the Sheyenne girls basketball team. It's been an adjustment and a change. You have that moment where reality sets in and you realize an era has ended and a new one is beginning."

Part of Manson's new era could be seen in the all-star series, as she was playing with two of her new UND teammates. Bismarck Century graduate Lilly Keplin and Mandan graduate Megan Zander also played for the Class A team. Zander won the Miss Basketball award this season, while Keplin and Manson were finalists.

Keplin had 12 points and Zander had seven in the first game, while Zander had 10 and Keplin had eight Tuesday.

"That was super cool," Manson said. "We've all moved up (to Grand Forks), so I've gotten to play with them for awhile. This was cool to play against other people instead of our teammates. We also get to showcase what we have to offer at the University of North Dakota and create chemistry."

Hintz already sees a difference in Manson's game.

"You can tell she's stronger," Hintz said. "You can see her confidence continues to grow. Looks like she's ready for college basketball. I'm excited for her. She's worked so hard. She's disciplined herself so much and put in the time."

Manson's summer days are made up of her psychology class, working on agility, lifting, conditioning, basketball practice and scrimmages. She also has to make 2,000 shots outside of team activities every week.

It still hasn't hit her that she's a college basketball player. She's waiting for that moment.

"At the beginning of my high school career, I got pushed around because I was so small and it's like that all over again," Manson said. "I think strength is a big thing I need to work on and confidence in myself. I don't think it'll hit me until the season starts or maybe that first game, experiencing the first game in the Betty and putting on the jersey for the first time. I still feel like a high school girl going and playing basketball. I need the full experience."