She’s a pretty versatile basketball player, one who can give you a bucket when it’s needed, or break the press, or take on another team’s top scorer.
That’s not why Abington Heights senior Maria Tully is one of two recipients of this year’s William Gerrity Team Player Award.
Tully and Dunmore’s Steve Borgia are winners of the award, presented to two basketball players from the Lackawanna League’s 48 hoop programs.
“I’m thrilled for Maria. It’s well deserved,” Abington Heights girls basketball coach Deanna Klingman said. “She put a lot of time in.
“She really is the ultimate team player. Her growth at point guard really was noticeable this year.”
That’s just one of the measures for the Gerrity Award, which after an 18-year hiatus, was resumed last season. Abington Heights’ Jack Nealon was one of the recipients of the trophy and $1,000 scholarship.
Academic standing, attitude on and off the court, and the ability to make teammates better are among requirements of the nominees.
Contributions to the team’s cohesiveness and community service are other factors considered in the award.
“I think people on the outside don’t know the other things she does,” Klingman said. “She’s heavily involved in the youth ministry. She goes on mission trips every summer for Habitat for Humanity. She volunteers for refugee dinners. She helps out at the holiday at Steamtown as a train helper.
“She really has committed herself to the sport of basketball. People don’t know, for years she’s been helping out at the AYBL (Abington Youth Basketball League). She just goes and keeps the clock, keeps the score for all of the younger age groups. And she has made a commitment to mentor some of the younger kids in our Abington Heights program.
“For her to get this award, it really culminates everything she’s been doing. Not just on the basketball court or for the program, but for the community.”
An honors student who takes advanced placement courses, Tully will continue her basketball career in the fall at Arcadia University in suburban Philadelphia, where she will major in physical therapy.
“There is no surprise that she wants to go into a helping profession,” Klingman said.
That’s because Tully has done nothing but help her teammates.
“Every day she comes out to practice, she is very focused and I think moreso this year than ever, just a strong presence on the floor for being a naturally quiet person,” Klingman said. “She has taken over as my ears and eyes on the floor.”
Klingman said Tully is quiet but not timid.
“She has played very inspired, with a lot of self-confidence this year, and I think that really helped us down the stretch this year,” Klingman said. “She’s a great kid.”
Deeply involved in her high school club community, she also plays another key leadership role as shortstop of the softball team,
“I wouldn’t be the person and leader I am today without my teammates, my coaches and family believing in me and instilling the values of gratitude, hard work, confidence, kindness and perseverance within me,” Tully said.
“I lead by example, I tend to. Just being there for your teammates, that’s what a good teammate is.”