Manila senior signs with Shawnee

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Manila senior basketball player Colleen Kemp signed a letter of intent Wednesday to play basketball at Shawnee Community College, in Ullin, Ill.

The 5'6" point guard Lady Lion has played basketball at Manila since she was in the fourth grade.

Colleen Kemp, Manila senior, signs letter of intent to play basketball. Pictured are, from left: seated - Manila high school Coach Jeff Priest, Kemp, and Shawnee Lady Saints Coach Gary Poyner. Standing -- family members Gregg Kemp, Taylor Bishop, Rhonda and Ed Bishop, and Kevin Curtis. (Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)

Kemp is very pleased to have the opportunity to continue playing basketball at the next level.

"It is a dream come true for me," Kemp said. "I have always loved playing basketball and started dreaming of playing college basketball the last two years."

As a senior Kemp averaged 11.4 points and 4.1 assists a game. She also hit 36 three-pointers for the year. She had two games hitting five three-pointers.

Kemp was named All Conference and All NEA player during her senior season. She has one more game as a high school player as she was selected to play in the All Star Sun Senior Classic on April 18.

Manila High School Coach Jeff Priest called it a privilege to have coached Colleen for two years.

"She was like having another coach on the court," Priest said. "She had a really good junior season but came on in her senior season helping us finish the year strong."

The Lady Lions won nine of their last 11 games and finished the year with a 20-10 record. The team was 3A District Champions and won the Gerald Jennings Tournament in December.

"I don't think Colleen will have any problem adjusting to college basketball," Priest said. "I believe Shawnee is not only getting a good basketball player but a great kid."

Lady Saints Coach Gary Poyner just finished his first season at Shawnee.

"We won 10 games this year and for the first time in 13 years we won the first round of the play-off," he said.

Coach Poyner has five returning freshmen.

"Colleen will do fine and fit in great with the group of young ladies I have," Poyner said. "She has a good attitude, is an unselfish player, sees the floor well and is able to elevate her play."

Kemp has visited the Shawnee campus and met a few of the players.

"I really liked the campus," Kemp said. "The team members I met were very welcoming."

Kemp said she will miss her Manila teammates.

"I've played with Rebecca (White) and Kimberly (Wise) ever since grade school," she said. "Coach Priest has been a great coach the last two years."

Kemp is also a member of the Lady Lions softball team. She was All Conference her junior year and was All-State honorable mention.

She is looking forward to playing college basketball. She wants to pursue a career in either engineering or nursing.

On hand for the signing were family members, friends, teammates, coaches, and teachers.

Colleen is the daughter of Gregg Kemp and Rhonda and Ed Bishop.

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