By Tom Robinson
Mackenzie Steele has played a major role in creating new postseason accomplishments with her high school team.
Now, she will join a program with a long history of success.
The Susquehanna senior, who recently completed her AAU career with the JB Hoops National team, committed Wednesday to continue her academic and athletic careers at the University of Scranton.
The 2018-19 season was the latest example of new milestones for the Lady Sabers and repeat success for the Lady Royals.
Susquehanna, which won a state tournament game for the first time ever in Steele’s freshman season, made its first state quarterfinal appearance last season. Scranton won its fourth straight Landmark Conference title on the way to a berth in the NCAA Division III Final Four.
Both scenarios have created a buzz around the two programs.
“I could feel that it’s a very good environment for basketball and for school,” Steele said. “They seem to have the community with them, which is something that I’m used to at Susquehanna, so I kind of wanted to keep that.”
Steele informed first-year coach Nick DiPillo of her decision Wednesday.
“The main reason was because I want to study occupational therapy and they have a great program there,” she said.
Steele had visited Quinnipiac, Fairleigh Dickinson, RIT, Dickinson and Millersville before spending time around the Scranton program and deciding to go there.
The 6-foot-2 center was a first-team Lackawanna League Division 4 all-star selection by NEPABasketball.com each of the past two seasons.
Steele is used to playing basketball in Scranton. The JB Hoops team and Backcourt Hoops, where she continues to train, are based in the Riverfront Sports Complex there.
“I’m just doing the same things, lifting, going to practices, having individual training at Riverfront,” Steele said of preparation for her final high school season. “I think I’ve got a little more confidence in me.
“And, just knowing it’s my last year, I’m not going to hold anything back.”
Susquehanna enters the season as the defending Lackawanna Division 4 and District 2-11 Class A Subregional champions.