Jess Pollard and Mara Paulson expect pain when they guard each other in practice. "Jess and I are both known for having bony elbows," Paulson said. They are split on who has the sharpest joints. "I'm going to have to say Mara on that one because ...
Jess Pollard and Mara Paulson expect pain when they guard each other in practice. "Jess and I are both known for having bony elbows," Paulson said.
They are split on who has the sharpest joints.
"I'm going to have to say Mara on that one because her knees are like elbows, too," Pollard said.
"I think she's worse, but she thinks I'm worse," Paulson added. "We complain about each other."
Pollard, Paulson and Lauren Carew also create headaches for opponents.
The Fargo Shanley juniors, all 6-foot-1, are one reason the Deacons sit atop the Eastern Dakota Conference girls basketball standings.
The Deacons play host to Fargo South on Friday with first place in the EDC at stake. They are the only unbeaten teams left in the conference. Both have 4-0 EDC records.
"You can't really match that height," Fargo South coach Craig Flaagan said. "The other thing I notice about them is all three can run the floor. Not many big girls can run the floor like they can."
Paulson and Carew are starters and both rank in the top 10 in the EDC in rebounding. Pollard comes off the bench.
Shanley usually has two of them on the court and, at times, all three. All three are multiple-sport athletes. They all compete in track. In the fall, Carew was on the golf team and Paulson played volleyball.
"What makes it so good is they are very hard workers," Shanley coach Tim Jacobson said. "They want to get better and they have gotten better. They are excited about basketball."
All three are productive in different ways.
Paulson is an inside-outside threat with the ability to hit shots from the perimeter out to 3-point range. Carew and Pollard play more around the basket, but both are able to make the mid-range shot.
Pollard likes to play defense. The Deacons lead the EDC in team defense, holding opponents to 41.7 points per game.
"My favorite is defense, blocking shots" Pollard said. "It just gives you that adrenaline rush."
Carew, Paulson and Pollard said they all have benefited from the first-year coaching staff of Jacobson and assistant Doyle Plecity.
Jacobson coached the Shanley boys team to North Dakota Class A state titles in 1997 and 1998. Plecity was the head boys coach at West Fargo for eight years and also was an assistant for the North Dakota State men's team.
Jacobson and Plecity have more than 40 years of combined coaching experience.
"They are great coaches. We're really honored to have them at Shanley," Carew said.
Strong perimeter play has helped complement the three posts. Shanley senior guard Dominique Schuler is third in the EDC in scoring at 13.9 points per game. Schuler also averages 3 assists. Senior Kayla Bowar averages 3.1 assists per contest.
The talented post trio can also set each other up, using high-post, low-post sets to yield easy baskets.
"What has impressed me is the way they pass the ball to each other so well," Flaagan said.
Bony elbows or not, Jacobson likes the moxie around the basket the three have developed this season.
"I think their biggest improvement is their aggressiveness inside," Jacobson said. "They have gotten a lot tougher."
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