Owego, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The love of basketball runs in her family. And she definitely stands out on the basketball court.
Off the court, she stands out as well, carrying a high 90s average in the classroom. We introduce you to Owego junior Rachel Merrill, this week's Academic All-Star.
"She continues to grow on and off the court," says head coach Scott Snyder.
High praise for 6 foot 3 inch junior Rachel Merrill.
A three year starter on the varsity team, Merrill stands above the rest.
Not just because of her height, but also her talent.
Merrill averages a double double for the Indians basketball team.
"I always try to play my hardest and keep our team together and I really try to use my height as an advantage while also trying to get up and down the court which is hard for people my size. I try to stay as quick and athletic as possible so that kind of sets me apart from some other players," says Merrill.
Merrill started playing at an early age, following in the footsteps of her father, who played college basketball.
And it runs in the family.
Merrill's sister is also a member of the basketball team.
"It definitely helps me. She's not afraid to push me around on the court. We kind of know how we play together so she's open for passes if I'm double teamed and we mesh quickly," she says.
Merrill is one of the unquestioned leaders of her team.
But she's not the most vocal player.
She prefers to let her play do the talking.
"She's a leader by example. She practices harder than anyone else. She plays hard. She understands things so very helpful actually," says Snyder.
Off the court, Merrill understands things in the classroom well, as shown by her high 90s average.
Her favorite subjects include English and Art, because they allow her to be creative.
A trait that also shows on the court as well.
And that's why Rachel Merrill is this week's Academic All-Star.