When they first started playing basketball as young elementary school students, St. John Neumann's Meghan Trenholm, Bucktail's Maria Morgan and Williamson's Lori Horton dreamed big.
Neither Neumann nor Bucktail had produced a female all-state athlete in any sport. Williamson had never produced an all-state girls basketball player. Still, all three believed they could be the first. They believed that someday they would be the ones all the young girls looked up to.
They were right.
Trenholm, Morgan and Horton all made history Tuesday when they were named to the Associated Press's All-State girls basketball teams. Trenholm was a second team Class A selection and Morgan a third teamer. Horton earned third team Class AA honors.
"Hearing that I'm the first one in Neumann girls history is a pretty big accomplishment," Trenholm said. "People are always saying how little our school is, but little schools can have great players in them."
She, Morgan and Horton proved it. All three have set records and shined individually while also helping their teams immensely the past few seasons. Now all three will always have a special place in their schools' histories. No matter what else happens, they always will be the first.
"I'm kind of shocked and at a loss for words," Morgan said. "It's something to come back to and know you were the first and something to always be proud of. It lets your school get out there and be on the map for once."
"We did a lot of stuff this year with all of our sports and it's nice for people to actually know that Williamson is not just a small town school and that we can do really good things," Horton said. "It's an amazing thing between this and also being one of the few teams that have won the league title. It was a great season, a very memorable season."
Trenholm has enjoyed a memorable career and already is in the discussion of best girls Neumann player ever. The junior guard, who plays underneath on defense despite being only 5-foot-7, already is one of the program's all-time leading scorers and rebounders. She has scored 1,222 career points, grabbed 599 rebounds and made 395 steals.
A three-year starter, Trenholm has never missed a game and has improved each season while helping Neumann reach districts this season for a program-record fifth straight year. She is the target of every opponent, but still averaged career-bests 18.8 points, 10.8 rebounds and 6.2 steals per game. Earlier last season, she scored 26 points, grabbed 24 rebounds and made 10 steals in a win at Bucktail, displaying everything that makes her one of the state's premier players.
"She takes it on and does everything we've asked her to do," Neumann coach Steve Sholder said. "I have coached her since first grade and most girls at that age are struggling to get the ball to the rim and she's easily making layups. You could tell right away she was going to be quite an athlete."
Those familiar with Bucktail athletics knew the same when watching Morgan. The sophomore guard wowed many with her all-around game and immediately made an impact as a freshman last year. Just halfway through her varsity career, Morgan already is closing in on the school's all-time scoring record and has scored 1,159 points in just 44 games. This season she averaged a district-high 28.3 points per game while adding team-bests 4.9 assists, 4.6 rebounds and four steals per game.
Morgan was one of the most experienced players despite being only a sophomore on one of the district's youngest teams. Opponents used just about every junk defense imaginable to try and slow her but none could. Whether using her quickness to attack the basket, her shooting to drain 3-pointers or her vision to shred defenses with her passing, Morgan did it all.
Just like Trenholm, Morgan is a relentless worker. She practiced softball at Bucktail yesterday, then traveled to Montoursville to practice with her AAU basketball team before heading back home after 9. She also made a big statement against her fellow all-stater. Morgan had a hand in all 50 points scored when Bucktail played at Neumann, scoring 25 points and dealing 10 assists.
"It's a lot of late nights, definitely," Morgan said. "This season was a surprise. I kept working hard and my team helped and supported me all the way up as did my coaches and family."
Horton dominated at Williamson. The 6-foot-3 center was a force inside and helped the Warriors capture their first NTL-West championship since 2002. Horton had one of the best seasons in program history, averaging 16.3 points, 16.4 rebounds and six blocks per game. Offensively or defensively, she could take over a game.
Williamson dealt with adversity, losing starters Cheyenne Jones and McKenna Greenwalt, for much of the season but Horton helped the team thrive anyway. The junior scored 20 points, grabbed 23 rebounds and blocked 10 shots in a key late-season win over North Penn and helped Williamson win all but one league game.
"It was an amazing experience," Horton said. "We had such good all-around players and it was nice to know we had so many players willing to play anywhere to help the team."
Trenholm, Morgan and Horton are consummate team players. They are something bigger, though, to the aspiring basketball players in their communities. They are role models.
"I go to their practices and they ask me for a lot of advice," Morgan said. "I always tell them hard work pays off and this time it did."