Diani Mason said she is starting feel more of a vibe as all the aspects of her game begin to sync together.
“She is maturing,” first-year Bishop Ford coach Mike Toro said. “She is finally realizing the things she can do.”
The junior scored 12 points in the team’s win over nationally ranked St. Michael Academy on Monday and exploded for 34 points, six assists and four steals in an 83-80, overtime victory against Mary Louis at home last Wednesday night. She scored 23 of those points in the second half and made key defensive plays down the stretch. Mason played under control, but aggressive.
“She would go to the basket and stop when she has the lane and she would dish it off,” sophomore Shanice Vaughan said. “She’s got to take it. Take your time and go to the basket and she will do good. She did great [Wednesday] though.”
The performance was Mason’s best in two seasons at the Park Slope school. She transferred to Ford last year after leading the Academy of American Studies to the New York State Federation Class B final as a freshman. Mason struggled with inconsistency and adjusting to the level of competition in her first season at Ford. However her athleticism and strength has always made her a great defender, rebounder and even shot blocker.
“She is the type of kid that wants to guard anybody, the best player on every team,” Toro said. “It doesn’t matter what challenge you give her she is going to accept it and just give it her all.”
Mason’s shot has improved this season. She connected on back-to-back 3-pointers to help Ford, which has now won three straight, erase an 11-point, third-quarter lead for Mary Louis. She is a slasher at heart, though. She and Vaughan dominated in transition at times and Mason had a 3-point play to tie the score at 71 late in regulation.
“They kept on making me shoot free throws, free throws [at American Studies],” Mason said. “I got comfortable at the line. That is why I attack so much. Free throws are just a gimme.”
She has started playing her best basketball after becoming a regular in the Falcons starting lineup, though viewed as a bench player early in the year.
“It’s something I told her over the summer, how regardless if she thinks of it or not, there are going to be times where we look for Diani Mason to step up,” Toro said. “Even though it is about the seniors this year, next year we are basically putting this team on her back. She stepped up a year early.”