Chris Maize is getting hot at the right time for the Neshannock High boys basketball team.
More about Chris Maize
|Stats||17 points per game and 5.5 rebounds per game against Our Lady of the Sacred Heart and Northgate.|
|Parents||Karen and Sam Maize|
|Favorite basketball player and why||"Dwyane Wade. I like his game and I've always liked him since I was a little kid."|
|Favorite basketball team and why||"The Miami Heart, because I've been a fan since 2006 when they had Shaq and Dwyane Wade and won in the finals."|
|Plans after high school||Will attend Youngstown State University to study business.|
Maize scored 17 points in each of the Lancers' two games last week, including a 53-52 win over WPIAL Section 3-2A foe Northgate. He also hauled in 5.5 rebounds per game in each contest. Maize's contributions earned him Lawrence County High School Athlete of the Week honors sponsored by Washington Centre Physical Therapy and selected by the New Castle News sports staff.
"I feel like we're playing really well right now and I feel like I'm scoring a lot more consistently," Maize said. "I started the season a bit slow, but I'm picking things up and I'm feeling really good about myself and our team and where it's at right now."
Maize, a senior, has taken on more of the scoring burden after the departure of Ean Oprean, who graduated in 2017. As Maize has upped his game, so have the Lancers who sit at just 5-9 overall, but at 4-2 in the conference with an inside track to a playoff spot.
"Against Northgate and OLSH, he's been shooting the ball much better," Neshannock coach John Corey said. "We see it in practice and it's been carrying over into the games. Obviously that's what we need from him. We need him to score and it seems like he's really starting to make shots and get to the rim and finish inside for us."
Maize's leadership has also been invaluable for the Lancers as they look to make a playoff push, and he says he's becoming more at ease in that role with each passing game.
"I'm feeling a lot more comfortable," Maize said. "Last year Ean (Opean) just carried everything. This year I feel like it's my job to pick up the slack a lot more to try to fill in that role."
Maize's shooting not only helps himself, but it also helps to open up the entire Neshannock offense, which thrives on creating space for big men Jake McCormick and Max McHale.
"We're unique on offense in that we have two big men in the post who can score," Corey said. "So when guys like Chris are shooting well, it really opens up everything. Teams can't always help down (low) off shooters if we're knocking down our shots and that just makes us more dangerous."
As Maize grows into his role on the 2017-18 edition of the Lancers, he prepares to lead his team through the heart of the conference schedule and into a playoff spot.
"At the end of the day, we're going to keep coming in and playing hard every day," he said. "We're coming in in and practicing, putting in the work and pushing for that spot. I know I'm bringing my best in practice every day and I need to make sure everybody else is too."