Rosten’s return helps Speidel-led Maryvale contend
Senior Emily Speidel is balling in her fifth year and has been the face of Flyers hoops for four. Voted “Most Athletic” in her class as a standout in soccer and softball, Speidel will also participate in the Cheektowaga Lions Club 15th annual Senior High School Ladies Basketball Classic after the season in March.
Coach Tim Klimtzak calls Speidel his “little floor general,” but she is also a problem for opponents off the ball, dropping three-pointers on opponents from every angle. Her average of 14 points, four assists and four rebounds this season are career highs and a huge reason Maryvale has gone from a three-win team to 9-5 (6-5 in ECIC Division III) with four games left.
“I want to win the rest of our games in the regular season and help lead my team deep into sectionals,” said Speidel. “As a team, I’d like to all be on the same page and go far in sectionals.”
Whispers about sectionals, even states, became louder once junior Ciara Rosten transferred back home in the fall. On Maryvale‘s modified team in eighth grade, Rosten transferred to St. Mary’s for the following two years, winning a New York State Catholic Championship under coach Keith Junik.
“As a ninth grader, she was already an intimidating figure,” said Junik. “But when she came in as a sophomore, she was unstoppable.”
Now that Rosten is reunited with the core clique of Speidel, seniors Rachel Stotz and Caryn Duman and junior Leanne Vanaker, the Flyers can accomplish something special.
“I don’t want to be greedy and look too far ahead, but if those two are consistent and we get key contributions, we’re going to be pretty difficult to go up against,” said Klimtzak.
Standing at 6-foot-1 Rosten is arguably the best girl to ever suit up for Maryvale. She has developed from a defensive enforcer as a freshman to an all-around player with no clear weaknesses to exploit as a junior. She’s averaging over 21 points, 17 rebounds, four assists, four blocks and four steals a game this season.
Rosten made her way into the record books on Feb. 5 (the night before her 17th birthday) as she became the third girl in school history to surpass 1,000 points in a 61-30 win over Depew at home.
Fate seemed to occur when she was 11 points shy heading into a game at Springville, but the game was postponed, so she was able to accomplish the feat at home.
“It was a sign,” said Rosten. “My mom really wanted me to do it at home. This is where it all started in eighth grade.”
One point away midway through the third, Rosten stole the ball, drove to the bucket and was fouled on her lay up as the ball twirled down the hoop.
“I was hoping to get it in the first half,” said Rosten. “But as soon as I got it, it was like weight was lifted off my shoulders.”
She is now about 100 points away from becoming the school’s all-time leading scorer.
Rosten had already put herself in the record books on Jan. 14, when she became the first girl to record a triple-double in school history (26 points, 21 rebounds and 10 blocks against Lake Shore), then did it again when she broke 1,000 (24 points, 10 assists, 22 rebounds).
“What I see this year is that we’re not breaking during adversity like we used to,” said Klimtzak. “Ciara is pushing everybody to work hard on defense on a level we haven’t done before.”
Speidel has reached her career high in points (28) twice this season, but her defining moment came against rival Cheektowaga. In a 57-47 win, Speidel finished with 13 points, but came up in the clutch with an eight-point fourth quarter, rallying her team in a physical battle.
“Everyone knows that Emily can score,” said Klimtzak. “But she does a lot that doesn’t get a lot of press. She’s the backbone of our team. We wouldn’t be here without her. This is Emily‘s team.”
As her last few games approach, Speidel would want nothing more than to carry Maryvale as deep into the playoffs as she could. But no matter where the ride ends, she is content with what she’s accomplished.
“I left everything I had out on the court this season and I’m happy with the year we’ve had,” said Speidel. “I’m happy to be going out this way.”