Delivering in the post
There was a time once when Megan Curtis and Sheena Zweigle referred to themselves as the Twin Towers.
That changed after Sept. 11.
There was a time, too, when the pair were grade school rivals, but that, too, changed over time.
Now the pair of 6-foot-1 basketball players are good friends, something that has grown with their height over the years and their breadth as basketball players.
The senior pair, now starters on Nevada Union’s girls basketball team, feel confident enough in themselves and their game to spend time coaching third- and fourth-grade girls in a Grass Valley youth league.
They split the coaching duties on Saturdays, just as they share other things, right down to the socks they wear when they play for the Lady Miners. You’ve got to be close to share socks, right?
“We wear one tall sock, one short sock, and have done it every game for luck,” Zweigle said. “The short socks we wear are Megan’s. I have a lot of Megan’s socks in my drawers.”
Maybe it is the socks, or maybe something else, but whatever it is, it apparently is working. On a team loaded with size, Curtis and Zweigle stand tall in the post, complementing each other’s strengths to form a counter-weight to the Miners’ perimeter punch.
“The difference from this year and last is that we have a much better presence under the basket,” NU coach Craig Strohm said. “It is a tribute to Megan and Sheena and their ability to play physical.”
Halfway through the Metro League schedule, the Miners are in lock step with Kennedy for first place. Curtis leads the team with more than 10 rebounds per game, according to Strohm, while Zweigle counters from the strong forward position with 7.8 rebounds per contest. Strohm noted that, to date, opposing teams have averaged less than five offensive rebounds per contest against NU.
“Both are capable of stepping up when called upon,” Strohm said. “Both have matured mentally and physically. It was Megan Curtis who pounded Folsom, and it was Sheena stepping up against Monte Vista (Danville), which is still ranked. So it is not like they’re just knocking over tomato cans at the AM/PM.”
After losing to Folsom in the championship of the Rotary Classic, NU bounced back less than a week later to beat them, with Curtis the leading scorer in the contest.
“Words associated with tough describe her,” Strohm said. “I call her a boarder now because she comes up with tough rebounds. She plays with a brace and duct tape and no ACL (anterior cruciate ligament). She basically plays on one leg.”
Curtis has played with a brace on her right knee ever since first popping out her knee in middle school. Sometimes, she is able to pop the knee into place; other times, such as the most recent time during this season, the knee will stay out for more than a day.
“It doesn’t hurt when it happens, I just can’t walk on it,” Curtis said. “When I play, I don’t think about it. I’m not afraid to play on it.”
Zweigle had her best game of the year against Monte Vista in the championship of the West Coast Jamboree. Her 12-point performance in that game led to her being named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
“The first couple of games in the tournament were not outstanding games, but in the championship game I had some awesome passes from Mackenzie Murphy,” Zweigle said. “They announced the all-tournament teams after the (Monte Vista) game, and I had no idea I would be picked as MVP.”
Zweigle and Curtis decided to coach a girls team as part of their senior project this year. With Strohm as their mentor, the pair were assigned a youth team that they named the Swishettes. In addition to running a weekly practice and coaching the team on Saturdays, the pair also officiate a handful of Grass Valley Youth League games or work as timekeepers.
The experience reminds Curtis of when she was in elementary school, looking up to the girls who then played for the Lady Miners.
“I remember playing when I was little and going to the NU games and thinking, ‘wow, they are so good,'” Curtis said. “So now I wanted to share with the girls what I’ve learned from playing, and share a respect for basketball.”
Curtis and Zweigle hope to give their players the basic building blocks upon which the members of the Swishettes can foster, if they so choose, a longterm commitment to basketball.
It has been a challenge both Curtis and Zweigle have enjoyed.
The coaching experience is much more low key than what Curtis and Zweigle go through during any practice or game, where it is not unusual for one to exhort on the other with an intensity that only could be used among good friends.
“I think Sheena is a very good player and easy to work with,” Curtis said. “Sometimes we’ll yell at each other, but we do it because we are trying to make each other better.”
“Megan and I have both really come out of our shells this year,” Zweigle added. “It has helped us blossom into players and good friends.”
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