XENIA — Emma Hess isn’t one to talk about herself too much.
Even after being named the No. 2 senior in the Dayton area by TruSportsAcademy, the 6-foot senior at Legacy Christian Academy was still keeping a low profile.
So we’ll let Legacy Christian Academy girls basketball coach Mark Combs brag on her behalf.
“When I tell you that she’s one of the best shooters that I’ve ever seen, guy or girl, in 40-plus years of being in the sport, that is saying something,” Combs said. “She is an incredible, incredible shooter. (But) when it comes to basketball there’s just so much that she’s good at.”
The folks at TruSports agree, ranking only Wayne’s Aubryanna Hall ahead of Hess. And overall, Hess is only behind Hall and Centerville junior Cotie McMahon. Hall and McMahon play in Division-I. Hess is in Division-IV.
“It’s a big blessing and honor to be recognized like that,” Hess said after an open gym session earlier this week. “I was kind of surprised. It was kind of cool to see. (But) Rankings don’t mean a whole lot to me. It’s more about the team.”
And that’s exactly why Hess is ranked where she is.
“She’s a special kid,” Combs said. “She’s special for our campus, in the classroom and as a leader. Players really do make the difference. Our program is fortunate to have the talent that we do in Emma.”
Hess averaged 20.2 points per game last year, second to Yellow Springs standout Angie Smith in the Metro Buckeye Conference. She topped all shooters by making 53.4 percent of her shots and was second in 3-point shooting at 37 percent. Hess also was fifth in the MBC at 2.9 assists per game. In addition she was third with 1.6 blocks per game as Legacy was 19-4 overall and a D-IV district runner-up.
Hess — who has committed to Liberty University in Virginia — is using her lofty status to motivate her this year.
“It makes me want to keep working, get better, get stronger,” Hess said. “I’m looking forward to getting back out on the floor mostly.”
Due to the coronavirus, high school sports were shut down earlier this year as some teams were on the court warming up for state semifinal action. They just started up in the last few weeks.
“I didn’t get into a gym until our first AAU practice,” Hess said. “I’ve been lifting, working out in my house.”
She also has a hoop in the street where she shot “pretty much every day.”
“Just to try to keep up,” Hess said. “I can’t wait for the season.”
It should be a good one for the Knights. They graduated just one player — Maddy Combs — and also return senior Kathleen Ahner, the No. 30 senior according to TruSports. Ahner averaged 15.2 points and 5.5 rebounds to go with 4.3 assists and 2.6 steals per game, according to the MBC website.
Hess and Ahner form quite the duo.
“Kathleen plays on my AAU team (Dayton Metro),” Hess said. “We get to play a lot together. We have a really good chemistry. She knows where I’m going to be be pretty much without looking.”
With around 17 players in the program (they had just seven on varsity last year), it will be up to Hess and Ahner to lead the way, something they did together quite often last season.
“They are unique in the sense that there is absolutely zero friction between the two,” Combs said.
He credited Hess for the jump in numbers.
“They want to be Emma,” he said. “They want to be little Emmas. It’s hard for me to think they’re playing because I’m some nice guy. We know what we have, and know what a gift it is.”
Of course, you’ll never hear Hess admit that.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.