For most of her life, Kelly Roache has followed in her sister’s footsteps.
In high school, she is blazing her own trail.
Roache is a junior at Bishop McDevitt High School, and like her sisters, the Fox Chase native attended Julia R. Masterman in grade school. The magnet school is a great academic institution, and she enjoyed her time there, but she wanted to try something different when she was in eighth grade, so she elected to start at the Catholic school in Wyncote, not far from her family’s home.
For her, it was the right decision.
“I love McDevitt,” Roache said. “I love the community. All the teachers are so nice. I love my coach, the basketball team. We’re like a family. “I ended up there because I went to Public School, Masterman, it was a great school, but I wanted something different.
“It’s a great school for so many reasons. I felt like I belonged here freshman year. I like playing basketball, I like just going to the school and being around everyone. It’s such a fun place to be, you really feel like you’re cared for here. I liked Masterman, too, but this was definitely the right choice for me.”
Which is why the news that the school is closing at the end of the school year hurts so much. But, just as she’s a warrior on the basketball court, Roache is ready to fight. And she is happy to see she’s not alone in that.
“I’m really proud to see everyone fighting it,” Roache said. “It’s a sad situation, but I’m glad everyone is working hard against it.
“It means a lot that everyone wants to fight to keep it open because it shows how much we all love the school. It’s a great place with great people. If it wasn’t, we wouldn’t be so upset and fighting so hard. I’m not sure what will happen, but no matter what, I’m proud that we’re all trying our best.”
That’s the exact attitude Roache has on the court while representing the school she loves so much.
Roache is the starting shooting guard for McDevitt, and she’s been seeing time since she arrived at the school. Last year the Lancers were in the Blue Division, so they played against smaller schools, but prior to last year, McDevitt was mixed in with all of the great teams in the Catholic League.
It was quite a start for Roache, who learned a lot while taking some lumps playing against a wealth of Division I talent on some of the opposing schools.
McDevitt finished winless a season ago, but most of the games were quite competitive. The season before, the Lancers won four games, but suffered a lot of lopsided losses when playing the powerhouse schools. Still, Roache had fun both years.
“I definitely learned a lot when we were playing the bigger schools, you had to because they were so good,” said Roache, who started as a sophomore. “We had a pretty good year last year, my freshman year was better but we lost some great seniors. It was kind of a rough season for us. We really got close and just had to figure out how to work well.
“It’s a great schedule, it gets really tough. Last year they split it up to Red and Blue so some of the better teams play each other, that helped. I remember freshman year, Neumann-Goretti, and it was really uneven. Even though it was really rough, it was fun to play them. You get to see really good basketball players and have fun, even if you’re losing, you know you’re getting better.”
It helped that the Lancers had a starter they could depend on.
Roache has been playing basketball for a long time, and her goal isn’t to be the leading scorer on her squad. She just wants to win, and if that means she has to do the gritty work, she’s happy to chip in that way. But when she has the ball, she’s more than capable of lighting up the scoreboard.
“In a sense, I wouldn’t say I’m selfish with the ball, I love to get it into the block (to the forwards) and I do a lot of shooting,” Roache said. “I love working together with the girls on my team, especially the ones in my grade. We are pretty close, and we play well together.”
This year, she’s not just playing for them. She’s also playing for the girls who will definitely be putting on a McDevitt jersey for the final time.
Yes, there’s a chance this will be the final season in school history, but she’s hoping that changes. She’s playing for the seniors.
“We want to make it a great year, try to make it our best year because it’s the last and we want to make it special for the seniors, too, because it’s their last year,” Roache said. “I think we could be really good. We got a lot better playing together last year, and that should help. We haven’t been practicing (together), but we are close, we know how to play together. We should be good.”
She’ll work hard on the floor.
She’ll also do whatever it takes to keep the Lancer spirit alive beyond the school year.
“It’s really hard, I wish this would have happened when I was younger because that way I wouldn’t have to just leave for my senior year, it’s tough the way it happened,” Roache said. “But we’re not giving up. We went to a protest downtown, we were there with Hallahan. We’re all there to support each other.
“I love McDevitt. I really want to graduate from there. We’re doing whatever we can to keep it open.”