Duncan Basketball

Hollee Stewart goes up for a basket in a scrimmage during the preseason.

Michael Pineda
The Duncan Banner

Duncan senior Hollee Stewart is not much unlike many basketball players across the state. Emotionally, she is bouncing off the walls.

The Duncan basketball teams will be in action tonight when they host Elgin. For Stewart and the Lady Demons, tonight’s season opener is the culmination off an offseason of hard work and the beginning of what they hope is a memorable season.

“I’m so excited, everybody is more enthusiastic about it,” Stewart said. “We are going to catch some people off-guard.

“For the past three days, I have had to keep it under control. We have been waiting for this for four months. Today in practice, we were giddy and excited. You could tell.”

Aside from making a bid for the all-interview team for usage of the word giddy, Stewart brings a lot more to the table. Stewart is one of only a handful of Lady Demon basketball players that have seen meaningful action in a varsity game.

This season, she will be a key element on a Lady Demon team that has high hopes under first-year coach Andrew McClung.

“I was interested in what he had to say when we first met,” Stewart said. “After summer pride, I knew it would be a good season. There was a lot more to it conditioning-wise.”

Conditioning is nothing new to Stewart, who has put in her time as an athlete at Duncan. She used to be a three-sport athlete but narrowed it down to basketball and track.

“The conditioning is different for the two,” Stewart said. “Basketball is about endurance and speed. I would rather run miles than do defensive slides in practice.”

The one thing that keeps Stewart going is her work ethic and competitive nature. The work ethic makes Stewart her harshest critic while the competitive nature pushes her to excel, particular when it comes to sibling rivalry.

“I want to do better than my sisters when they were in high school,” Stewart said. “Both of them were point guards and they were shooters. I’m more of the defensive player, I like to control what people will do.”

“I’m competitive, I have to one-up them. I don’t know why, it’s just in the blood.”

That rivalry is always put to the side when the family puts on a united front in support of Stewart.

“Having my family there pumps me up,” Stewart said.

As a senior, Stewart’s role has evolved. Lessons learned as an underclassman are lessons that can be passed on to others. For Stewart, one of the most valuable lessons learned is to keep everyone’s head in the game when things go south.

“I encourage the underclassmen more,” Stewart said. “It’s something you have to work at. I know when I make a mistake, I get down on myself. Now, I see other people getting frustrated. Telling them it will be OK helps.”

Stewart and the seniors will need the help of the underclassmen if they are going to achieve their aim of turning Duncan basketball around. They hope tonight will serve as a calling card for what they hope to accomplish this season.

“We want to show the hard work that we have put in,” Stewart said. “We are a different team than in the past.

“This is the first time that the stands will be full and the band will be playing. There are mixed emotions, but I will be under control.”

Which is more than she might be able to say leading up to the game. After all, it does take a certain amount of energy to stay giddy.

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