Self with Wellsboro after stints in West Virginia and Tampa

Tory Self of Wellsboro

She already made her decision, but Tory Self would at least humor her parents. She owed them that much. So after her mother, who works in the ministry, was called to work in Wellsboro last year, Self made the trip from Charleston, West Virginia to tour Wellsboro High School.

She did not know it then, but Self was finding a new home.

Self had played for an elite West Virginia high school as a junior last year and wanted to stay there. Two Russian teammates were living with host families and Self could do the same for her senior year. That was the plan. But Self, one of seven siblings, could not stay away from her family. Ultimately, that family love brought Self to Wellsboro.

And the Green Hornets sure are glad.

Self has made a huge impact in her first and last season at Wellsboro, dazzling opponents, becoming one of District 4’s best players and helping the Hornets put together the best start in program history. Self did not think her senior year would be spent in Wellsboro, but she sure is making her mark.

“I asked (her former coach) if he could find me a host family. But that would 3 1/2 months that I never see my family if I were to stay with the host family. I struggled with that a lot and it was a problem for me for a while,” Self said. “I decided at the end of the day that my family was what is most important and wanted to be there with them in my last year before I went to college. I’m glad I was able to come play with the girls and that we’re doing really well right now and getting recognition.”

Self has traveled a long and winding road toward Wellsboro. She is playing in her third state, for her third team in three years. Self was a sophomore standout in Tampa, Florida playing 8A basketball before moving to West Virginia last year and shining there. Any move can be challenging, especially for a teenager, but Self has taken everything in stride.

At each stop along this journey, Self has made a big impact. The venues and teammates have changed but Self’s performances have not. The experiences and ability to adapt to different teammates, coaches and styles only have made Self as more well-rounded player and person.

“It has been difficult to move for me, but it’s also been good because it helps with variety and it opens up my options a little bit more,” Self said. “The competition in Florida was really good and I played in a junior national tournament in West Virginia that was held in Illinois. All these things have really come into play and boosted my confidence level knowing that I can hang with other good players, as well as perform against good teams.”

Self has continued showing that at Wellsboro. The lightning-quick, sweet-shooting point guard ignites one of the area’s top offenses and has helped the Hornets (14-1) flourish. Self is a threat in every facet, also wreaking havoc with her defense. Just look her numbers for proof. Self leads the area in scoring (19.6 per game), assists (5.5) and steals (5). She averaged 21 points, 6.7 assists, eight steals and 3.7 rebounds in three games last week.

Wellsboro already looked like a contender entering the season, returning three starters, including leading scorers Lizzie Poirier, Emma Poirier and rebounding force Rachael Tuttle. Wellsboro reached a district final two years ago and just missed reaching states last season. Adding Self to the mix was like pouring gasoline on a fire and Wellsboro has run roughshod through the Northern Tier League.

“She’s one of the main reasons we started 13-0. She makes us a lot better,” Wellsboro coach John Davis said. “She’s had a lot of big-game experience. She’s gone against a lot of good athletes and she helps us a lot.”

Even in Wellsboro’s one loss, a 59-58 overtime thriller at Jersey Shore last week, Self stood out. Playing against a 2017 District 4 Class AAAA state qualifier, Self scored 18 points, dealt 10 assists, made six steals and grabbed four rebounds. She basically displayed her entire arsenal.

“I think athletically, she’s as good as I’ve seen. You have trouble trapping someone like that,” Jersey Shore coach Darrin Bischof said. “She is as good a guard as I’ve seen.”

Self is a calming influence. She stays even-keel whatever the situation and her expression rarely changes. No matter how tense the Jersey Shore game grew, Self remained in control and was never rattled. It helps, too, that she rarely turns the ball over, can drain NBA 3-pointers, beat defenders off the dribble and constantly find the open player. Self has the total package and is building an all-state resume.

College recruiters have noticed. Self already has received an offer from Division I Liberty, but is exploring her options and keeping an open mind. She has learned the value of doing so throughout her travels and is not rushing anything. Maybe a major Division I offer will come, maybe it will not. Either way, Self will be playing basketball at the next level, doing what she loves the most.

Keeping tabs on Self is not always been easy. As soon as she has made headlines at one school, she has hit the road again. Then again, the internet, social media and other forums make that a less daunting task these days.

“I still have coaches keeping in touch and have gotten a lot of press on Twitter and through different articles,” Self said. “I’m not worried about it. If you’re a good player they’ll find you.”

That is true. So Tampa, Charleston, Wellsboro … It does not matter.

Self is easy to find.

PUTBACKS: Montgomery recorded a huge win Friday, overcoming a 13-point halftime deficit and stunning rival Muncy, 51-43. The win highlighted the improvement Montgomery (2-13) has made and how it is has kept battling despite an 0-11 start. The Red Raiders went on a 22-7 third-quarter run, snapped Muncy’s three-game winning streak and avenged a 27-point loss from a few weeks earlier. Jessica Umpstead scored a game-high 15 points and Riley Fry recorded her fifth double-double, scoring 10 points and grabbing 10 rebounds … Cowanesque Valley (9-6) also recorded a big win and did so in thrilling fashion when it edged defending District 4 Class AA champion Sayre, 31-29 on a Karmen Short buzzer-beater. CV overcame a 10-point halftime deficit against the NTL-II leader and Short forced overtime when she hit a last-minute 3-pointer … Williamsport is making progress and has exceeded last year’s win total by three after edging Dallas, 37-36 Saturday. Shelly Floyd and Samiyah Little form a nice inside tandem and combined for 22 points … North Penn-Mansfield won three times last week and allowed just 31 points in convincing wins against Canton and North Penn-Liberty. Mansfield (7-7) held both teams to fewer than 20 points and JoAnne McNamara had 17 points with eight steals in the 46-14 win against the Mounties … Lydia Albert has come on strong for Montoursville and has reached double figures in four of her last six games, including scoring 16 points against Central Columbia Friday … Williamson (9-8) is closing in on a playoff berth after losing four starters from last year. The Warriors defeated Wyalusing, 43-31 last Thursday as Bethanny Boyce delivered 14 points, eight rebounds and six assists … Sullivan County (14-1) has won 23 straight Mid-Penn games and held Millville to just 16 points over the final three quarters in Friday’s 48-32 win. Jessica King continues having a big season and combined for 27 points and 27 rebounds in wins against Montgomery and Millville. She added seven blocks against Millville.

Masse may be reached at cmasse@sungazette.com. Follow him on Twitter at @docmasse

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