Athlete spotlight: Mount Anthony's Grace Mahar
Mount Anthony's Grace Mahar became the newest member of the 1,000-point club in a game against Rice last week. Only a couple of days after reaching the magic milestone, the Banner had Grace in to talk about the climb to 1,000 points, what it was like to have her brother, AJ, as a coach and her plans for the future.
Banner: To reach 1,000 career points, you have to average about 12.5 points per game for four years. What does it mean to get to that mark?
Grace Mahar: Ever since Madison Little got 1,000 in my freshman year (2017), the excitement of that, when she got it, it felt like I got it. It was so exciting and a fantastic moment. It was the best feeling in the world and I always wanted to get there. It's great to finally get it.
Banner: You needed 23 points before the Rice game to reach 1,000 points. It's not easy to score that many points in a game. What was your mindset on that day?
Mahar: I calculated it and I didn't think I would get it at home, and I was upset about that. I was 56 away before the Rutland game and I didn't have a great game. So I wanted to set up in the Springfield game that I would get it at Rice, and I didn't have a great game, only 15 or 16 points. My whole family was going to Rice, my sister came home from New York, my two best friends go to UVM and they were there. So I was content to get it [at Rice].
Banner: With your family in the stands, were you more anxious than usual?
Mahar: I talked to my brother [AJ] before the game and he told me to stay calm, play my game and it's nothing you haven't done before. I ended up with 17 at halftime, so I set myself up at the end.
Banner: Your 1,000th point came on a three-pointer, off a missed layup and a pass back. Tell me about that play.
Mahar: The possession before that, I came down, got fouled, went to the line four points away. I thought it was perfect, make the free throws, then only two points away. But I missed the free throw, typical. Rachael [Jones] was looking for me all night, she wanted me to get it almost more than I wanted to get it. Missed the layup, got the rebound and as soon as I shot it, I knew it was in. It was a moment of shock and just relief, finally, I've been waiting for this. I started to cry, but it was awesome.
Banner: You and your brother are the first brother-sister pair to reach 1,000 points in Mount Anthony history. So it has a little bit of added significance.
Mahar: My brother is definitely my best friend and with that, we're always in competition, even though we're 17 years apart. I've always looked up to him, ever since I was little and being able to accomplish that he accomplished is really cool. I couldn't have done it without him. I was really happy that he was able to be there.
Banner: Larry Andrews is your coach this season, but for the past two seasons, AJ was your coach. What was it like to have your brother as the coach?
Mahar: There were a lot of ups and downs, mostly ups. He lived with me at the time, I was never escaping it, it was basketball 24-7, but I was playing with my best friends, and they were always at the house and we'd sit in the kitchen and gameplan. He was a little harder on me, which sometimes I took personally and I shouldn't have, but I knew he wanted the best for me. The first thing when he got the job, we made sure that on-court and off-court were separated.
Banner: You have been the focal point of the team this season with a lot of new varsity players. How has that change been?
Mahar: [Freshman Madisyn] Crossman is going to be great, she takes everything I say very serious, which is nice, because when I was a freshman, I needed that guidance. That's what I'm trying to do for the [younger players]. They are taking what I'm saying and using it to become better basketball players.
Banner: We talked about your brother, but your sister, Jhonny, was also a great player for Mount Anthony. What was her influence on you as a basketball player?
Mahar: It's always been close between her and I even though she's 12 years older than me. We're not as competitive, but I found out I was close to her rebounding record and I wanted to beat it. She wanted me to [break it] too. She lives 3-and-a-half hours away and she's made it to eight or nine games this year. She's cancelled her vacation to come home for it, she's one of my biggest supporters.
Banner: What's your plans for college next fall?
Mahar: I'm 50-50 on playing basketball or not. Part of me wants to play and it's sad that the next games might be my last six games ever. The other part of me wants to focus on school, basketball is a big commitment. It's a lot.
My first choice is University of Rhode Island, but I wouldn't play basketball there. I went to a visit at Castleton, basketball-wise that's what I'm looking at.
Banner: What would you major in?
Mahar: I'm going to major in nutrition and modern psychology to work with people who have eating disorders. One of my closest friends had an eating disorder, it stuck with me. I'm really into working out and eating healthy, it's fascinating to me.
Banner: You're in the locker room getting ready for a game. What type of music is playing?
Mahar: Oh my God, I'm usually not in charge of it! [laughing]. Usually that's Ari [Douglas] or Keely [Greene], I'm usually just getting ready. We don't have that much time between the JV game and the varsity. We're getting dressed, we're girls, we're braiding our hair, it's a whole process.
Banner: What's your favorite class?
Mahar: I'm homeschooled, but I'm taking anatomy and physiology at [Community College of Vermont], with Scott Frost.
Banner: That's a different dynamic.
Mahar: I'm all over the place, I'm homeschooled for English and history, I have a tutor. I take math and science through the school, so I'm actually done at the high school right now. It's like a college schedule almost right now.
Mahar and the Patriots continue their campaign on Saturday against Hoosick Falls.
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