Winning tradition is something that Marian girls basketball fans have been accustomed to since their first District 11championship in 1979. Such a caliber of play obviously cannot be accomplished without the hard work and dedication of past and present coaches and players.
The past eight seasons in Hometown, one family name that is synonymous with toughness, competitive edge, and determination that has helped Marian continue that winning tradition has been Shober.
Former Fillies' standout Libby Shober was one of the main catalysts for Marian when they captured the Class A State Championship in 2008. Libby was a tough player, an inside bully that fought hard every possession and was the perfect compliment to Marian's 6-4 tower inside, Rachel Connely.
Fast forward to this year's state playoff run and you'll find another Shober playing a key role for the Fillies Kelly Shober. Kelly, a three-year starter and four-year varsity performer, carries many of the same traits as her older sister and has showed it in her senior season.
Shober averaged 10.3 points per game for Marian this season and in a majority of the games was also in double digits in rebounding. He play was vital for the Fillies, who came up just one win shy of once again reaching the state championship game.
Libby Shober, who has been following her younger sister's run through the state playoffs, expressed her pride in the kind of leader and player Kelly has been for the Fillies.
"I'm really proud of her," said Libby. "Coming into this season the expectations were high, but I don't think they were this high. Kelly is a tough player who works hard and I would be lying if I wasn't a little surprised about how far these girls came this year. That's a testament to Kelly and the girls who have all improved a lot over the last four years."
Kelly Shober, much like Libby did this season, followed her sister through her State Championship run in 2008. Seeing her sister go up against the very best and coming out on top was a definite motivation factor to try and bring Marian back to such heights.
"My parents drug me to every one of Libby's game her senior year, but I didn't mind," said Kelly Shober. "They were a strong team and played so well together and I remember saying to myself that I wanted to play on a team like that. Fortunatley, I was able to and I will never forget these moments as I move forward with my life."
In Marian's State Tournament run this season Shober has been a pillar of excellence, especially the last two contests. Against quarterfinal opponent Old Forge, Shober was all over the place scoring 11 points, tallying nine rebounds, and five steals. In last night's game against Steel High, the Rollers had no answer for Shober. The senior scored 18 points and had eight rebounds against the highly-touted Rollers.
"Kelly has improved tremendously from her freshman season," said Marian head coach Paul Brutto. "She's a multi-dimensional player with nice size and can step outside and hit the jump shot. Another great thing about Kelly is her basketball I.Q. If you show her something or teach her something she gets it and that's an invaluable quality to have as a basketball player."
Just as Kelly has done a great job of carrying on the tradition of Fillies basketball, she has also done a great job of carrying on the athletic tradition of the Shober family. Libby's accomplishments are well known and her father Tom "Bear" Shober was a standout football player at Panther Valley and then later played collegiate football at Brown University. Kelly's improvement in the game both physically and mentally can be attributed to some drive-way battles between her and her big sister.
"We practiced inside moves whenever we could in the drive-way and she basically beat the heck out of me," said Kelly Shober. "She probably still could beat the heck out of me, but it definitely helped me get better over the years playing against somebody who was better than the competition I would be playing against."
Unfortunately, the Fillies run has come to an end, but Shober is proud of what the Fillies accomplished this season.
"These girls have so much heart," said Kelly Shober. "We battled all year long to get to this point. We are all so close and my teammates are the kind of people that will do anything to help you out. They're so unselfish and giving and I wouldn't trade anything for the memories we created together."