Nine months ago Mercer Island girls basketball player Claire Mansfield proved pressure situations don’t faze her on the hardwood.
Mansfield sunk four free throws in the final 22.3 seconds of regulation, which played a pivotal factor in her team defeating the Bishop Blanchet Braves 52-47 in the Class 3A state championship game.
“I honestly don’t remember doing it,” Mansfield said of making the clutch free throws with everything on the line. “It was kind of a blur. The whole state tournament I had this weird feeling that I knew we were going to win it. I wasn’t really nervous even when we were down in games. It just felt normal and right like we were going to come back and win it.”
The Islanders will look vastly different on the court during the 2017-18 season. Mansfield and sophomore Grace Shaddle are the only two returning varsity players from last season’s championship squad.
“There is a lot of freshman, a lot of sophomores. It is a lot of teaching and developing right now,” Mansfield said of November practice sessions. “These players are hungry to learn, which is really exciting. They’re very coachable. It has been good so far. We’re just trying to get better every day. We just want to start off KingCo (league) play strong. We’re going to be a strong and scrappy team.”
Mansfield, who is currently on the sidelines due to a back injury, said she will likely return to the lineup in about a month.
Recently the Mercer Island Reporter had an opportunity to ask Mansfield a few questions about her life away from the basketball court.
Mercer Island Reporter: What is your favorite movie of all time?
Claire Mansfield: I love “Harry Potter.” I would have to go with any of them.
MIR: What is your favorite restaurant on Mercer Island?
CM: I love Qdoba. It’s fast and easy. You can just get it any night, go home and you’re good.
MIR: What is your biggest pet peeve?
CM: When people have squeaky shoes or flip flops that are squeaky and they walk around because they think its funny. I hate it.
MIR: How many text messages do you send per day?
CM: I send around 30 per day.
MIR: What is your favorite hobby away from basketball?
CM: Probably music. I love listening to music. I’m taking a few dance classes right now.
MIR: What is something unique about you that nobody would know?
CM: Some people are surprised that I have three brothers because they are so much older than me. A lot of people think I’m the only child.
MIR: What is your dream vacation spot?
CM: New Zealand.