Wellsboro grad Marple leading LeMoyne this season
In high school, Wellsboro's Alex Marple played a number of games at Mansfield University's Decker Gymnasium.
She played in playoff games for the NTL West title and district games on the court.
On Wednesday she was back at Mansfield, back on the court at Decker, but this time things were a little different.
This time she was facing the Mansfield Mountaineers as a member of the LeMoyne basketball team.
"It felt like a home court advantage for me," she said. "It felt a lot like a home game.
"It was déjà vu for sure with all the Wellsboro people here and playing on this court."
With Mansfield on break, the crowd wasn't full with MU students, instead the largest cheering section at the game belonged to Marple, who had the entire Wellsboro basketball team, including her younger sister Mackenzie, in the crowd cheering her on.
"It was awesome seeing all my old teammates," she said. "And, having the young girls come and watch the game, it was great."
While being at Mansfield was familiar for Marple, it was different being there as an opposing player in a college game.
"It was so different being over on the away bench," she said. "All our high school district games here we were the home team. To be playing as a visiting player was a lot different."
While it might be different seeing Marple as an opposing player at Decker, the one thing that was very familiar for those watching was what the sophomore was doing on the court.
Marple is LeMoyne's leading scorer this year, averaging 11.1 points a game and she's shooting 45.5% on threes this year.
"It's a lot different, last year I was just coming into my own, I'm a lot more comfortable this year," Marple said.
As a freshman there was an adjustment to the college game as Marple averaged 3.5 points a game.
"I struggled to find my role last year, it was a lot different," she said. "This year I know my role a lot better."
The big thing last year was just getting used to the competition at the college level, as well as the practice and school work in college.
"It's so different," she said. "Practices are so different and you have to balance school and basketball. I am definitely just a lot more comfortable this year."
This year Marple is also a starter who knows even if she struggles, she will get a chance to stay on the court, where last year she was worried about making mistakes.
"Once you do one thing wrong, you might be out of the game," she said of her freshman year. This year I know they will give me another chance. If I make a mistake, they will give me a chance to stay out there."
Last year Marple was also on a veteran team with a number of seniors and that made her nervous to take too many shots.
"All the seniors wanted to shoot the ball last year and I didn't want to step on any toes," Marple said.
This year things are different, now Marple knows that she is expected to shoot a lot more.
"They want me to shoot this year," she said. "It helps a lot to have people who want you to shoot and tell you to shoot more."
Stepping into the starting lineup and leading the team in scoring as a sophomore is something that Marple hoped would happen, it's not something she was sure would occur this soon.
"I hoped it would happen, I don't know that I expected it to though," Marple said.
This year's team is a lot different for LeMoyne with the graduation of a number of post players it's a smaller team that's more perimeter oriented.
"We are getting it together," Marple said. "It's a different team than we had last year. We have no one over six feet tall so it's a lot different."
While they aren't the biggest team, they are deep in the perimeter giving them a chance to rotate players in and out of the game.
"We definitely want to put fourth a lot of pressure," Marple said. "We know we can play hard when we are out there because we have a lot of people that can play."
This year Marple has some big hopes for LeMoyne.
"I hope to make it to the NE-10 Tournament, we haven't made it since our coach has been here, so that's what we are hoping for," Marple said.
And, with a younger team this year the Wellsboro grad is excited for the next few years.
"We are learning to play together," she said. "We have two more years after this year together and it's very exciting."