It is do-or-die time for the Clinton girls basketball team, who face their first sub-state opponent on Wednesday when they welcome Maquoketa to Yourd Gymnasium.
A trio of seniors is leading the way in most of the state categories, including Molly Chapman.
Chapman is a three-sport athlete, excelling in volleyball and basketball while also running track. In fact, she committed earlier this school year to play volleyball on the collegiate level at Loras College.
Even though volleyball is her favorite, she definitely cannot be counted out on the basketball court. A lot of that has to do with her attitude towards the sport. Even if it's not her favorite, she's not going to give 50 percent.
"In the past, I think I put a lot of pressure on myself to perform well for my team," Chapman said. "Now, it's just about going there and having fun since it's my last year and contributing as much as I can to my team."
Chapman is one of the leading scorers, averaging just under eight points a game. She's made nearly 20 long distance shots and drives the lane. She's not afraid to handle the ball on the perimeter, keeping her turnovers to a minimum.
"Basketball IQ," Chapman said. "Taking care of the ball helps, because we've had a ton of turnovers in the past, including myself. There's no shot clock, and it's girls basketball. It's going to be slower so take your time, look for good shots."
She also has 43 assists and 21 steals. Her most impressive stat? The senior is leading the team in rebounding. She pulls down five a game both on the defensive and offensive end. That's considering she's a shooting guard who barely stands at 5'9 with a slim build.
That's a testament to her work effort, though. You won't ever look at Molly Chapman during a varsity contest and see her not doing something that's advancing the team.
"I just keep doing my thing," Chapman said. "It's a little frustrating when you're not scoring but when you are, it gives you confidence and makes you play better in all the areas. If I'm not scoring, which I haven't always, I just try to work harder at another thing."
But work ethic is something, she's realized, that has set her apart. Especially when it comes to a sport like basketball that's physically and mentally demanding.
"I think that's why a lot of girls don't go out for basketball because it's a pretty tough sport, demanding," Chapman said. "Having a good work ethic in anything you do, you can tell the difference when you're against someone who doesn't have it."
It allows the senior to lead as well, maybe not vocally. She sets an example and a pace to the River Queens' game for younger players and fellow teammates to follow. So, even though she's not racking up kills or digging from the back row, the's still enjoying herself. Basketball has been both a challenge and a lesson for her in her high school career on working hard, and it's led her to considerable success as a River Queens.
"Some people dread going out for basketball, but I just look at it as a way of bettering myself," Chapman said. "It's hard, not an easy sport to play, but it forces me out of my comfort zone ... it teaches me how to work hard at everything I'm doing."