Coal City girls basketball coach Brad Schmitt knew his team would need scoring from more than just All Conference selections Brittany Halliday and Britta Spelde to succeed in 2012-13.
Senior post Donjeta Shabani has helped fill that need for the Lady Coalers. They are off to a 15-3 start thanks in part to Shabani's 9.3 points per game, which ranks second on the team. She is also Coal City's leading rebounder with 112 on the season.
Coal City will begin play in the Interstate Eight Conference Tournament today having won its only other game this week over Reed-Custer, 45-13, behind 13 points from Shabani. Between then and now, she shared her thoughts with the Morris Daily Herald.
Q. How do you feel the team has been playing entering the conference tournament?
A. I think we've been playing very good, but there's always room for improvement.
Q. Your team hasn't played the No. 1 seed, Lisle, yet. What do you know about them?
A. I know that they play good defense, are well-coached and had a lot of returning players.
Q. What needs to happen for you to consider it a successful tournament?
A. We need to play good defense and win the tournament.
Q. You're the second-leading scorer on the team, and it seems like you've really come on lately. How has your role in the offense changed since last year?
A. The guards on my team are great at creating a lot of scoring opportunities for me and I capitalize off of them and finish.
Q. You're also the team's leading rebounder. How much pride do you take in your rebounding?
A. I take a lot of pride in rebounding because getting a rebound means finishing the defensive possession.
Q. You also play soccer and volleyball at Coal City. Briefly, what is your history in each sport?
A. I played each sport for four years and I enjoy something different about each of them. In soccer, I've been a four-year starter. In basketball, I've been a three-year starter, and in volleyball, two, all on the varsity level.
Q. How do you divide your time in the summer between the three sports?
A. During the summer, I focused solely on volleyball because that was the first season of the year. Getting in shape for volleyball also helped me prepare for the upcoming seasons as well.
Q. Were you satisfied with how the volleyball season turned out for you and the team?
A. Yes, although our record could have been better, I was satisfied that we ended up winning the conference.
Q. Which is more difficult to make — the transition from volleyball to basketball, or the transition from basketball to soccer?
A. The transition from basketball to soccer because I go from using my hands to my feet.
Q. What are your thoughts on the upcoming soccer season in terms of what you hope to accomplish and how the team will look?
A. Since this is my senior year, I hope that we build off of our accomplishments last year and also hope to make All-Conference individually. I think the team will look good because we have a lot of returning players who have great chemistry.