One of the greats
Prior to the Dunkirk-Fredonia girls varsity basketball game Friday, Dunkirk took the time to honor it’s all-time leading scorer, Khee Nance, by retiring the Class of 2013 alumna’s No. 4 jersey.
“My mom found out from (Athletic Director Mike) Sarratori,” Nance said. “And (Superintendent Gary) Cerne.
“I was excited,” Nance continued. “I really was. I didn’t expect it to happen, so it was extremely exciting.”
Nance’s parents, Sheila and Curtis, were also extremely excited. As was her former head coach, Sarah Burnett.
“She said she was honored and nervous about (giving a speech),” Nance noted of Burnett. “She didn’t know what to say. She said there was a lot to say, but she didn’t know what to put in it.”
Some of her former teammates were also on hand Friday night to share in the honor.
“A lot of them (were there),” Nance said. “Lacy Clark, half of (this year’s team) and Alayna Carlson said she was coming. I don’t think they really knew. They know now, because a lot of people have been talking about it.”
Nance finished her stellar career with the Lady Marauders with 1,144 points to surpass Class of 1990 alumna Karen Grace (1,005 points) and Robert Nalepa, a member of the Class of 2009, and the only player from the boys’ program to score more than 1,000 points with 1,039.
“I miss it a lot,” Nance said of playing basketball. “I was torn between (the two sports). I approached (Deanna Richard) before I went to school and she was another one who said that she wanted me to be 100 percent and not have to give 50-50 to each sport. It’s different at the college level. It’s a lot of time.”
Nance, now a freshman at Mercyhurst and studying psychology, will play softball for the NCAA Division II Lakers this coming season, but she hopes that some day she’ll be able to make it back onto the hardwood.
“I play some pick up games,” Nance said. “Basketball and softball go all year and my softball coach is new, it’s her first year. Next year, she said we’ll talk about it.”
For now, Nance will concentrate on softball, a sport she still loves to play.
“It’s yet-to-be-determined,” Nance said of what she thought her role was going to be with the Lakers this season. “I got a lot of practice time in the fall and I played (shortstop). (The head coach) had me in right field, but she said she wanted me more at short, because of my arm (strength).”
Another strength of Nance when she was in high school was her speed and ability to run the bases. And she’ll be asked to utilize those tools by first-year coach Leanne Baker when games begin for the Lakers on Feb. 8.
“I’m slapping a lot more in college from the left side,” Nance said. “I like the challenge. I feel like from the right side (of home plate) it would be the same. But I like proving to myself and to my coaches that I can do it.”
If her career at Mercyhurst is half as successful as it was at Dunkirk Senior High School, Baker – and perhaps even Richard – will be very happy.
“I’m excited to get it going and see what I’m really made of at the next level,” Nance said. “It’s totally different than high school and my team is great. So I think we’re going to be good this year.”