Makenzie Maynard is The Evening Sun’s athlete of the week.
Maynard now a junior in high school, is a two sport athlete for the Tornado, playing Tennis and Basketball.
With recent successes on the tennis court, Maynard made a trip to the state tournament last year in 2015. Maynard can now be found wearing the number 13 jersey for the Norwich Purple Tornado girls basketball team, as she and her teammates are looking for another playoff run for the Tornado.
“I like basketball because I enjoy competing and representing my school,” said Maynard.
Maynard, now in her third varsity season of basketball, is no newcomer to the game as she began her varsity basketball career for the Tornado right out of the gates as a freshman.
Maynard recounted how she had started playing youth basketball as far back as five years old and added that she was even a ball girl for the Norwich girls varsity basketball team when she was in 4th, 5th, and 6th grade.
“Well she's been playing since birth honestly,” said Norwich varsity girls basketball head coach Josh Bennett.
Bennett had some very positive things to say regarding Maynard and the work ethic he has been witness to over the eight year stretch of Maynard being around the varsity team.
“She is very relentless on the court, always trying to make a play, always looking for an angle. One of the things I say every year is she is one of the best offensive rebounders I have seen in high school hoops. You would be shocked how many put back baskets she gets off offensive rebounds,” said Bennett.
Now in her third year as a varsity player, Maynard has evolved into a very dependable player for the Tornado, as Bennett noted she is one of the most reliable players on the team to end up with double digit scores in any given game.
This evolving presence on the court has come with time and has even seen Maynard move into a leadership role on the team.
“She has much improved court vision this year. She has become a much better passer every year she has played on varsity, said Bennett. “she is definitely a leader but on a team full of leaders what definitely sets her apart is she is a very quiet competitor. As it is with any good athlete, she hates to lose.”
Bennett has noted Maynard’s clutch capability, often mentioning her sense for making a big shot when the team is down.
“Her style of the dribble is very unorthodox so it makes her very difficult to guard, she can make those little runners in the lane off the dribble very off balance,” said Bennett.
This year the Tornado girl's are looking at making a playoff run, as they sit at a 12-4 record. The girls are coming off a big win against Owego Free Academy earlier this week, winning 55-40. Maynard tied fellow teammate Megan Komendarek, with a game high for the Tornado at 13 points a piece.
“This year has been a lot of fun so far. Hopefully our hard work pays off. I feel like we have a very talented group of girls this year and we are hoping to not only make it to states, but win,” said Maynard.