INDIANA - Macy Adams is anxious before most of her games this season.
"Being a freshman, it's completely different at the varsity level. I'm sure all the freshmen are really nervous, too," Adams said. "The junior high isn't the same. Now you have to really step it up."
Adams certainly hasn't looked like she felt out of place or nervous during the Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic girls basketball team's postseason run. In fact, she's been playing like she's been down this path plenty of times before.
"She knows when it's time to focus and when it's time to have fun. For someone that age, it's hard to not get them mixed up. It's never like that for her," said Annie Dombrowski, the Lady Marauders' only senior starter. "I think all of our freshmen are extremely mature when it comes to basketball, especially for the high school level. But she definitely seems higher up in the knowledge level."
Adams' veteran-like savvy was on display again on Saturday afternoon at Indiana Area High School. The 5-foot-5 guard let the game come to her, took few if any forced or questionable shots and scored a game-high 20 points to power the Lady Marauders back into the PIAA semifinals again with a 55-45 win over District 9 champion Clarion.
It was the fifth time in BG's six playoff games that Adams has raised her scoring average. She also made two more 3-pointers in a nine-point first quarter, giving her 15 in the playoffs after she had just 17 in the Lady Marauders' first 22 games this year.
"In the playoffs, we are playing more skilled teams. The better they get, the more I feel I have to step up to help our team win," Adams said.
Adams entered the District 6 tournament averaging 12.6 points per game. She'll carry a 13.2-point average into Guilfoyle's state semifinal clash with Vincentian on Tuesday night.
"I feel what's really let her step up her game from the beginning or the middle of the season is she's looking to be a little more aggressive offensively," Guilfoyle coach Mark Moschella said. "A lot of times, you can't teach mental toughness."
Adams' feel for the game wasn't only evident in her scoring. Late in the win over Clarion, the Lady Bobcats' were trying to mount a comeback. They had just missed a shot, but senior forward Kyla Miles seemed to have a bead on the offensive rebound. However, Adams came out of nowhere to take it away from Miles and to draw the foul in the process - she made 1-of-2 free throws to give BG a little more breathing room, and it pulled away in the final minute.
Of course, Adams isn't exactly new to this. She's been at the Lady Marauder playoff games for the last four years following her sister, Halee, a Mirror player of the year and all-state selection who played in two PIAA finals for BG; the elder Adams is sitting out this year as a redshirt after transferring to St. Francis but was in the crowd Saturday cheering her sister on.
"She's supported me through my whole basketball career. It's so amazing because she's so great at basketball, and she's helped me so much," Macy Adams said. "Watching Halee helped me out so much. It just showed me how to become a basketball player. I wanted to play basketball because of her."
Unlike many siblings, the Adams girls didn't compete with each other growing up. Macy's skill didn't come from taking her lumps against Halee in the driveway or the neighborhood court.
"We never really played one-on-one," Macy Adams said. "My dad always said, 'One of you is going to get hurt.'"
Macy, though, was able to bring Halee's wealth of experience with her. That's been a big bonus on a team that starts three freshmen and only includes two seniors on its roster: One of those, Dombrowski, hadn't even played basketball in several years before coming back out for the team this year, focusing instead on a standout volleyball career.
"I knew Halee and I knew her family, but I never really met Macy until the summer, when I talked to her for the first time," Dombrowski said. "I knew this girl was good, but she was out with a shoulder injury. So I didn't know how good until she stepped on the floor in November and we put our chemistry together. We just kind of clicked.
"Macy's a ball of joy. Her laugh can make the whole team laugh. She's a dedicated player."
"I see them [Macy and Halee] as different personalities. I enjoyed coaching both of them. They have a common factor. They're both competitors," Moschella said.
Macy Adams' coming-out party was in the District 6 Class A championship game, when she scored 20 points and made six 3-pointers, including one at the buzzer that lifted Guilfoyle to a 57-55 win over Portage.
"After the Portage game, I definitely was feeling more confident about my shot. Earlier in the season, I really didn't look at the basket to shoot that often," Adams said. "Since I made that many, I feel more confident about it."
Adams is mindful, though, about the shots she takes.
"I go and shoot with my sister. She helps me to know when to shoot it and not to force it, just like take my time," Adams said. "If I do good things, someone will get me the ball, and I can score then."
Adams speaks like she's playing right now: like she's someone at least a couple of years older. She's enjoying Guilfoyle's run, but she doesn't seem to be in awe of the Lady Marauders' accomplishments or the influence it might have on the program's future.
"It hasn't really sunk in yet," Adams said. "I'm sure once I get older, I'll think about that."