Mahopac Senior Leader Tenacious in the Paint

Amanda McCarney goes up for a layup during warm-ups last week against visiting Carmel. Credits: Deena Bell

Mahopac senior captain Amanda McCarney is a starting forward and team captain on the varsity basketball team.

How old were you when you started playing basketball and how did you get started?

I started playing basketball in sixth grade when I was 12 years old. I started playing on an in-house team and then I played CYO at St. John’s.

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Early on in the season the team lost key seniors to injuries. How did that affect the team? With the return of more experienced players has the dynamic changed?

Losing seniors in the beginning of the season definitely had an impact on the team, especially since so many of us were injured at once, but I think it was a good experience for the underclassmen. In the long run it gave us a huge advantage over other teams because now when we need girls to come in off the bench they all do their best to contribute which helps us win games. Ever since most of our more experienced players have come back, I think there has been more energy and confidence on the court.

As a forward what do you feel is your main strength on the court?

Aggression. As a forward it is really important to stay tough constantly throughout the game, whether it’s on the defensive or the offensive end and to set the tone for my teammates.

As a senior captain, how do you see your role on the team, and how much do you value being a team leader?

Being named team captain was truly one of the highlights of my basketball career. My role is to keep all of the girls positive and never let them get discouraged, no matter what the score is. Being a team leader is such an honor and I really enjoy being someone that all my teammates can come to for support. This experience has made me focus on my actions on and off the court even more because there is a lot of responsibility that comes with being a captain and I know that my actions can affect the morale of the entire team.

What is your favorite team activity, pregame or postgame ritual that you share with your teammates?

My favorite team activity would be our team bondings the night before we have a home game. We basically just eat and laugh and have a great time together, which has brought us all closer and gets us really excited before our games.

Who has been your biggest role model over the years and what have you learned from them?

My parents have definitely been my biggest role models. They’ve taught me that even if things get tough, the worst thing you could do is give up and if something knocks you down you just have to get back up and work harder than before. Without them I wouldn’t be the person I am today.

Tell us one thing about yourself that not a lot of people know?

A lot of people don’t know that soccer was the only sport I played until sixth grade when I decided that my love for basketball was greater than my love for soccer.

Do you plan on continuing to play basketball in college? If yes, where are you going and why did you select that school?

When I go to college I will most likely play club basketball, but I am not sure what college I will be attending yet.

Do you know what you want to study in college? If yes, what and why?

I would like to study elementary and special education in college. I love working with little kids and I have two younger cousins who are autistic which is why I was inspired to choose this career path.

Who is your favorite professional athlete and pro or college sports team?

Breanna Stewart. The UConn women’s basketball team is my favorite college team.

What is your favorite music to listen to warming up for a match?

Either rap or pop.

If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?

To read minds because if someone needed help, but couldn’t express themselves I would know what was bothering them, which would be an extremely helpful quality in the career I wish to pursue.

If you could pick one place to visit on vacation that you’ve never been to, where would you go and why?

I would love to go to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico because I love the beach and I would love to go anywhere that’s tropical.

What is your favorite food to eat before or after a game?

A chicken caesar salad.

Best place to eat in Mahopac and why?

Bliss because you can always see people you know there and their food is really good.

Facebook, Twitter or Instagram? Why?

Twitter because it’s easy to stay up to date with sports and other news.

For a young athlete growing up in Mahopac, what would you tell them about the experience of being part of the basketball program and why should they go out for the team?

Being a part of Mahopac’s basketball program has been an experience I will never forget. I have met some of my best friends on this team and spending every season with them has been a blast. Not only to the people who want to play basketball, but to any young athlete in Mahopac, I would say that being a part of a team is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Being a part of any team in Mahopac you will meet some of your closest friends and you will make some of the best memories.

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