By Nelson Coffin
Molly McAleer, a rising junior at Maryvale Preparatory School, has had quite a summer.
In June, she and just five other teammates on a U.S. select basketball team won a gold medal at the United World Games held in Klagenfurt, Austria.
The event, sort of a mini-Olympics with more than 400 teams participating in a wide variety of sports from 40 countries, marked NcAleer’s first trip to the European continent, although she had visited London as a small child.
She said the opportunity arose when she was invited last spring by officials of the American International Sports Teams organization to join the team.
McAleer, who averaged 16.2 points, 2.5 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game while leading the Lions to the second round of the B Conference playoffs last winter, was quick to reply that she was more than willing to compete for the U.S.’s Star squad.
The decision paid off, as McAleer and her mates bested another American team to win the gold medal after defeating squads from Germany, Austria and Hungary to reach the finale.
Normally a point guard or a shooting guard, the 5-foot-8 standout also had to play in the post for a team that had only one practice after meeting for the first time at the airport in New York and flying to Austria.
Off the court, she was able to travel to Austria, Germany and Italy.
Jumping into Lake Como in Italy and seeing Austrian and Gernan folk dancers some of the were highlights of the 10-day trip for McAleer, whose biggest thrill was participating in the opening ceremonies with fellow American sports teams.
“And I was able to meet a lot of different people from around the world,” she added.
Her coach at Maryvale, Alex Miller, said that McAleer’s effort to improve her skills know no boundaries.
I’ve had the pleasure of coaching Molly for the past two years, and she is a tremendous competitor,” he said. “She continues to work out with skill coaches and looks for opportunities to improve her game on both ends of the floor. She showed tremendous leadership as a freshman starting every game and leading our team in scoring — and transitioning from a shooting guard to our starting point guard. She followed it up by starting in each of her games as a sophomore and taking us into the second round of the playoffs. Molly is great player to coach because you know when she steps on the court she is there to work to become a better player.”