CRESCO — A basketball and an open gym have always provided solace for Crestwood senior Shannon Pisney.
“It definitely takes my mind off everything,” said Pisney, whose mom, Luann, who played basketball at Cresco’s Notre Dame High School. “If I’m having a bad day, I can shoot around and it clears my mind and makes my day better.”
That passion for the game combined with a desire to prove herself fueled a breakout freshman season highlighted by a 14-point, 19-rebound performance that sent the Cadets to state with a four-point win over Osage.
“I was just like I might as well give my all and see how far it goes,” Pisney said. “It definitely was so cool to experience that because I’d never been that successful in anything.”
With her promising basketball career beginning to take off, Pisney suffered a setback that has become all too familiar in the girls’ game. She tore her ACL four games into her sophomore season and was sidelined for six months before returning to club basketball the following summer.
“I took it pretty hard,” Pisney said. “I just wanted to come back and work harder. Everything happens for a reason and you can either let it get to you or you can overcome that. ... I didn’t ever give up on myself.”
Pisney was able to play a full season of volleyball in a knee brace the fall of her junior year before leading the Cadets on the basketball court with an average of 18.1 points per game during a return to the state tournament.
This season, Pisney has picked up where she left off. She’s averaging 19.1 points a game on 60 percent shooting — including a 9 of 14 clip from 3-point range — to go with 5.9 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 2.75 steals for an 8-0 Crestwood team that is ranked No. 2 in Class 3A.
Despite missing nearly her entire sophomore year, Pisney entered this week nearing a major milestone with 972 career points.
“What she brings to the team is a desire to be unselfish and make the team better at every aspect,” Crestwood coach Doug Sickles said. “Shannon is one of those girls that if we need something inside she’s not afraid to go inside. If we need an outside shot, she can step up.
“She’s very vocal in practice in a positive way. She keeps pushing her teammates to be better and she’s not satisfied with where she’s at or the team.”
Pisney is quick to praise the cast of teammates she’s working alongside. Crestwood has been unselfish on offense with four starters averaging at least 3.5 assists per game, while everyone on the team seems to take more pride in their work on the defensive side of the ball.
That commitment was revealed last weekend as the Cadets overcame an early deficit to defeat a Lyle-Pacelli team ranked No. 1 in Minnesota’s Class 1A that featured a dominant 6-foot-5 center.
“Everybody is willing to start with defense instead of always worrying about offense,” Pisney said. “I’ve loved this team.
“I couldn’t ask for a better group of girls to play with because I know I can always count on them and they will always have my back.”
The development of 6-foot-2 sophomore Sharon Goodman (18.4 points, 6.75 rebounds), along with fellow seniors Brynn Bodermann and Emily and Ellie Friesen, has formed a formidable and battle-tested starting five. Fans have gravitated toward this team in what is shaping up to be a special season.
“The fan support is crazy,” Pisney said. “Even when we have away games the stands are still pretty much packed.”
In addition to basketball and volleyball, Pisney also competes in softball and is a member of the Barnstormers club basketball program. She plans to continue her basketball career at the collegiate level while pursuing a major in pre-med or nursing.
As Sickles points out, Pisney has helped set a high standard for success.
“Two things that jump out with Shannon are her competitiveness, not just in games, but in practice,” he notes. “She doesn’t like to lose at anything. And just her work ethic. She’s a girl that you love to have because she’s willing to put in the time.”