Grant, Panthers have eyes on state crown

 

Kelly Grant led St. Basil’s to the District 1 championship. CONTRIBUTED

Some players say they don’t care how many points they score.

Kelly Grant can’t even tell you how many she has.

Grant is a senior point guard on the St. Basil’s Academy basketball team, and she’s quite happy with one stat. She’s proud to talk about the 24-2 record the Panthers have entering the state tournament.

But when it comes to her stats, it’s not that she doesn’t care, it’s that she truly doesn’t know.

“I think one of our coaches keeps track of that, I can’t really tell you, I don’t know,” said Grant, who runs the Panthers offense and also is a key to the team’s defense. “I try to score when I get a chance, but it’s my job to get everyone else going. I’ve been trying to score more when we need it, but that’s not really my job. I just try to win.”

Grant should be happy then.

The Panthers have done nothing but win this year.

With the exception of back-to-back losses in December to Centerville and Conrad Science during a tournament over the Christmas break, Basil is undefeated this year. That includes rolling through the Catholic Academies League, an ambitious nonleague schedule and then winning the District One championship, including a 20-point victory over New Hope-Solebury in the title game.

It’s been a fun right, and for Grant, a very important one because it’s her last year with this team. Next up is a game against Neumann-Goretti in the first-round of the state tournament. The Saints ended the Panthers’ season two years ago, and Grant and her teammates remember it very well. And they’re looking forward to the rematch.

“We love playing them because they’re really good and they play exciting basketball,” said Grant, who lives in Fox Chase. “I like playing games like that. The tougher the game, the more competition we have, the better it is. I like playing games where it’s going back and forth and we have a lot of people watching.

“It should be fun to play them, mostly because we know that if we win, we keep playing. Our goal as a team, especially the seniors, is to make sure we get another game. Every game, our goal now is to just keep playing another because we want to stay together.”

When she’s not running point for the Panthers, Grant has very little free time.

She’s in honors classes and maintains a 4.0 grade point average, which puts her in the National Honor Society. She also plays the handbells in school and is a member of SBA Cares, a group that performs community service.

And when basketball is over, she’ll go play outfield for the Panthers softball team. That sport is pure fun for Grant.

“We’re not as good in softball as we are in basketball, so that’s frustrating because we love to win,” Grant said. “But we have so much fun. I don’t want to say we’re closer than we are in basketball because our basketball team is really close, but I’m really good friends with the girls on the softball team, too. We play for each other, and that makes it fun.”

Grant’s softball career will come to an end when she graduates from Basil, but next year she’s already decided to play basketball at Ursinus, where she’ll major in pre-med. Ursinus worked in many levels for her, and one of the reasons is because she’ll be teammates with one of her main high school rivals.

“I loved Ursinus, I really liked the campus and the basketball coach is great, I liked everything about it,” Grant said. “And it’s really good that my friend Maria (D’Aulerio) is going there, too. She is from Nazareth, but we played in the summer together and we bonded. I like Ursinus because it’s close, but it’s good to have a friend going there. I’ll love playing with Maria.

“I’m not sure what I want to do after I graduate, but I know I want to do something in medicine. A lot of people ask me what I’m going to do, and I really don’t know. I just know I like that subject and I’ll figure that out. It’s very interesting to me and once I learn more about it, I’ll make a decision.”

Grant and her mates have had a great run as of late making the state tournament in each of her years at the school. But this year, she hopes to get the state championship that has eluded her team thus far. But no matter what happens, Grant is happy she’s been a part of the squad that has enjoyed so much success together.

“It’s been great,” Grant said. “Every year was fun, but this year we don’t want it to end. We have five seniors on the team, and the three captains are trying to be good leaders. I’m definitely not the most vocal one, I just try to lead by example. But we just want to keep winning so we can keep playing together. We don’t want this to end.”