The Shooter

Renee Roberts is the quiet one. Jackie Gemelos and Tiffany Ducker get all the press, but down the stretch it isn't unlikely that Roberts will put the dagger in your team's heart.

As probably the most unheralded of St. Mary's stars Renee Roberts is the quiet one, but that's just what you want from your outside threat. "I think she's the best shooter in the state," Coach Tom Gonsalves says of Renee. When I asked her if she's the best shooter in the state she laughs nervously, not wanting the attention, "Tiffany and Jackie make it easy for me," she responds.

A solid ball handler with exceptional range, Roberts might be the star of a hundred other girls teams in the state, but at St. Mary's she's the hammer. With the inside domination of Tiffany Ducker, and the slashing Jackie Gemelos, defenses have to make decisions, and often it is Roberts left along on the baseline, the wing, or anywhere else for that matter, to knock down shots.

"Obviously I can shoot, but I bring defense to this team too." Roberts has worked hard to become a defensive stopper, "I just try to play hard and move my feet. Coach Gonsalves is serious with us and doesn't let us underestimate our opponents. We play hard because he makes us." Roberts and the rest of the team know that their fast break, run-and-gun style is dependent on forcing turnovers and creating chaos with their defense.

Playing along side Ducker and Gemelos has helped Roberts, "Jackie definitely lives up to the hype, and it makes me a better player. I see how hard she and Tiffany work, and I just want to work as hard as they do. Tiffany is always attacking, the glass, the basket, and she's an incredible passer. She could score 30 a game, but she's not selfish."

In fact defenses don't know who it is that's going to be the high scorer for St. Mary's, as all three, Roberts, Ducker, and Gemelos, have led the team this season. "Teams feel like they have to lock up Jackie and Tiffany, and they don't feel that way about me." But that might not be the best idea. Roberts is shooting over 40% from beyond the arc, and has shown the ability to get hot, white-hot. "She'll just start shooting and won't miss," Coach Gonsalves said, "when she's on she can't be stopped."

Renee comes from St. Anne's, another of those ‘feeder' schools, and thinks it has helped more than just her, but the whole team. "Coach Gonsalves was my coach at St. Anne's, so it helps us a lot, because we run the same system, just a lot faster, at St. Mary's." That familiarity is invaluable to any player, but especially a shooter. Everyone on the court, Renee included, knows where she'll be open, and they've essentially known for more than six years because the system hasn't changed.

"I think we deserve to be ranked. We've played the best teams in the country, but with four losses it is going to be tough. We have the talent to win state, and that's where we'll get our recognition," is all Renee will comment on the fact that St. Mary's hasn't cracked USA Today's Top 25. "We'll have some tests before state, from Sacred Heart and Sierra, I've heard both those schools are real good, but if we play hard and as a team I think we can beat anyone."

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