Despite performances that likely would have netted even more scholarship offers, Manner has no regrets about committing early. She visited several schools up and down the East Coast and settled on Stony Brook, a university about 60 miles east of New York City.
“It was just a comfortable feeling of, okay, this is a place I could really see myself,” Manner said Friday after her team’s home win over Centreville. “When it came down to it, it had everything I was looking for basketball-wise, school-wise, people-wise. And the location was not too far but close enough” to home.
“I think she’s at the right level,” Oakton Coach Fred Priester said. “Maybe there would have been a few other schools [if she had not signed early], which would have just muddied the waters for her.”
There are two local players, both seniors, in the Stony Brook program. Gerda Gatling (Forest Park) is a starting forward. Sam Landers (West Springfield) is a backup guard. Second-year Coach Beth O’Boyle is a Rockville native who attended high school at Holy Cross.
The 6-foot-1 Manner has scored 100 of her 421 points this season at the foul line. She has increased her free-throw percentage each season, including from 70.3 percent on last year’s unbeaten Virginia AAA state championship team to 77.5 percent this season.
Manner, who had 13 points and 16 rebounds in the title game win over Princess Anne last March, has attempted 129 foul shots through 17 games, already 18 more attempts than in 31 games last year. She also has extended her shooting range and has sunk nine three-pointers.
Manner has five games of 30 or more points, including a school-record 44 in a win over Madison. In that game, Manner was fouled on a made three-pointer in the final seconds of regulation and hit the free throw to force overtime.
“We don’t have bunches of plays for her,” Priester said. “We’re an equal opportunity offense. But when things break down, the kids have great trust in her, great faith in her. She’s extremely agile and moves around that basket very well.”