WINTERSET, Ia. — Mariah Criswell has spent a lot of time playing basketball in her school’s gym. She has easy access to the keys and puts them to use.
Criswell, a Winterset all-stater who is averaging 21 points, has grown up as the daughter of an administrator and physical education teacher.
She puts herself through 90-minute workouts in the gym. If her dad, Greg, is with her, that may last 4 hours.
“I should thank the janitors more for not kicking me out,” Criswell said.
Criswell, who scored a school-record 37 points against Perry on Friday, has made the most of her opportunities. She’s already earned all-state honors twice. She’s making 41 percent of her 3-pointers this season and plans to play at Northern Iowa.
Greg is a former girls’ basketball coach who led Montezuma to the state tournament while hall of famer Janel Grimm was in the lineup.
Criswell seemed headed for destiny in her sport.
“It was kind of inevitable that I would end up playing,” Criswell said.
She has focused on long-term goals since she was little.
“I’ve always wanted to play college basketball,” Criswell said. “At a young age, I knew what I had to do and what it would take.”
Her two younger sisters, sophomore Macayla and fourth-grader Maggie, also play.
“My mom always yells at me to stop doing drills in the kitchen,” Criswell said. “And now all three of us do it.”
Coach Andy Pickering said Criswell is a great leader, too.
“She’s so positive, and it carries over to the rest of the team,” Pickering said.
Criswell has played varsity all four years. She helped Winterset reach the state tournament when she was a freshman.
She said she has developed into a stronger leader as well as a better player.
“Nobody’s going to respect someone who yells all the time,” Criswell said. “No one’s going to respect someone who doesn’t know what they’re talking about.”
She’s been active in AAU basketball with the All-Iowa Attack, too.
“You’re playing against players who have the same goals as you,” Criswell said.
She also has a 3.9 grade-point average.
Criswell typically stays after practice for a few minutes to polish her game. She’s definitely at home there and doesn’t want to be outworked by anyone.
“If I’m not in the gym, I know someone else is doing it,” Criswell said.
300: Four bowlers have rolled 300 games this season: Tyler Schutte of Clinton, Jacob Boleyn of Waterloo Columbus, Alex Schmidt of Dubuque Senior and Levi Clark of Johnston.
QUESTION OF THE WEEK
Iowa girls’ cross country runners will compete at a 5K distance instead of 4K this fall. What’s your view?
@JaguarGirlsXC pointed out a survey by the Iowa Association of Track Coaches in 2013 indicated 168 of 265 respondents preferred 4K. There’s a concern for newcomers. “For my varsity athletes and experienced athletes, they will be ready and they are excited! I will lose a couple from the other group.”
@Downing413: “Great thing. Puts us on common national ground. Girls shouldn’t run less. We don’t have them play shorter bball quarters.”
Two-sport all-stater Amanda Ollinger made her debut for a new basketball team Tuesday. The junior forward, who has already said she plans to play basketball at Iowa, started the season at Cedar Rapids Jefferson. She averaged 17.8 points. The all-state volleyball player moved to the Marion district over the winter break. She became eligible to play for Linn-Mar immediately and went scoreless in her first game.