For the last couple of years, the name McCartney has had a hand in quite a lot of wins and not many losses for the Lansing girls basketball team.
Last season, senior Colby McCartney led coach Stuart Dean’s Bobcats to a 17-1 regular season and a division title, claiming all-IAC North Large division first team and Most Valuable Player honors in the process.
Colby now plays her basketball for Nazareth College, although she has left the team in good hands — four of them to be exact.
Younger sisters and sophomore identical twins Shea and Maura have Lansing off to a 4-0 start this winter, catapulting a young but defensively stingy Bobcats team right back to the top of the division.
Shea and Maura — who also star on their school’s soccer team — have played varsity for Dean since eighth grade, and in true twin fashion scored 21 and 12 points, respectively, in Lansing’s 41-19 victory over visiting Groton on Tuesday, the squad’s fourth consecutive win by double digits to open the season.
But as the saying goes, ‘The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.’ In the case of McCartney family, however, the tree can just as easily be substituted for a basketball hoop, and the apple with a basketball — make that a few basketballs.
That’s because Kris Banfield McCartney — mom to Colby, Shea and Maura — brings considerably more basketball experience to the dinner table than most mothers.
Kris enjoyed a record-breaking career at Ithaca High in the early 1980s before starring for Villanova University, serving as a three-year starter for Wildcats and twice winning the Big East Championship. Kris was also the first player from the Southern Tier Athletic Conference to earn a scholarship from a Big East Conference and the first Little Red player to win a Division I scholarship.
In this installment special ‘Twin Edition’ of “Five Questions,” we ask Maura and Shea about the influence of sister Colby, one-on-ones with Mom and this year’s young ‘Cats:
What did you enjoy most about playing with your older sister, Colby, the last two years?
Maura: I think being able to play with both my sisters last year was a really good experience. Her being older she showed me a lot about how to play and handle myself.
Shea: Growing up I loved having an older sister who also played. I got to play with her last year and the year before on varsity and it was a great experience to get to play with her. She’s always been someone that I’ve looked up to playing while I was growing up and I was always around her teams so it was just really fun. She’s playing in college now so I like to watch her and cheer her on.
What kind of influence has your mother been on your basketball career?
S: Well it’s definitely pretty cool. My mom played basketball in college, so she was my first coach growing up and she’s basically taught me everything. It’s just cool to talk to her about things and have her help me.
M: She’s very supportive of us. She doesn’t push us to do anything we don’t want to and she’s always very supportive and you can always ask her for help.
Have you ever seen any film of your mother play, and when was the first time you beat her in one-on-one?
M: She has a few films that we’ve watched before, and we play sometimes in the driveway but we don’t really keep score. She normally beats me.
S: Not really. I’ve seen some like once, and I’ve seen some pictures. We play one-on-one in the driveway but I’ve never won.
What is the best, and worst part of being a twin?
S: The best part is that I was born having a best friend, someone to always do something with. The worst part, I don’t know, probably just people always assuming that we’re the same.
M: Best part I guess is always having someone to do stuff with and just going through stuff together. I don’t really know what a worst part would be. … People have a tough time telling us apart. We’ll walk down the hallways and people are always guessing who we are.
Do you think Lansing can be as good as last season despite losing eight seniors to graduation?
M: I think we can be very good. We don’t the experience but we’re good in a lot of areas and we’re determined to prove some people wrong.
S: I think our team has a lot of potential. A lot of teams don’t expect us to be just as good but I think we have a lot of good components to our team and if we just keep working we’ll be fine.