Watch the Ninilchik high school girls basketball team for a while, and one of the things that will stand out -- aside from the precise offense, the suffocating press and the stellar shooting -- is how hard the players work just hustling up and down the court.
Look closer, and you'll notice one player in particular makes the exertion look easy, sprinting from baseline to baseline in what appears to be an effortless trot.
Perhaps it's her track experience, or maybe it's her background with horses -- some of the most graceful creatures to watch lope across an open field -- but Molly Bosick, a senior frontcourt player for the Wolverines, moves with the type of athleticism that makes you think she'd be good at anything she tried.
"She is," Ninilchik coach Dan Leman said. "She's the defending state champion in the 400 meters, she qualified for state in cross country (running), she's been on two state championship teams in basketball -- she's not one-dimensional. She's great in everything she does."
Bosick said she first started playing basketball in sixth grade, and has stuck with the sport just for the fun of it, though the Class 2A state titles are nice, too.
"It was fun, the team was fun, and Dan's a great coach," Bosick said. "It's just fun to play basketball, and I like sports."
Bosick said athleticism runs in her family. Her father, Gregg, was a talented football player in high school while her mother, Marina, was a hurdler on her high school track team.
Bosick wasn't the only one to inherit the family's athletic talents. Bosick has two brothers, 14-year-old Gregory and 8-year-old Garrett, and she said she's feeling the pressure of a sibling rivalry.
"Gregory is always pressuring me," Bosick said. "We play one-on-one, and he's pretty good. I have to keep working so he doesn't pass me."
According to teammates, that won't be a problem.
"They call her 'The Animal,'" teammate Whitney Leman said. "All the guys, everybody calls her that. She's so strong, she rips the guys up. She's going to go far."
Bosick already has covered some pretty impressive distance. She passed Kenai's Michelle Edwards in the last 100 meters to take the 400 meter title at last year's state track and field championships, winning the event in 57.94 seconds. A year earlier, as a sophomore, she placed third in the 200 at state.
"I don't know if I like the 400. It's pretty long," Bosick said. "It's a sprint, but it's long. I like cross country. You can just take in the scenery as you go along."
Bosick pushes herself in the classroom as well, managing her time to make sure all her homework gets done around her practice schedule. Bosick maintains a 3.7 grade point average.
"I don't like to get bad grades, so I try really, really hard," Bosick said.
Bosick said her favorite subject is science. Ninilchik boys basketball coach Chris Hanson is a science teacher at the school, and Bosick said he makes the subject fun.
Bosick said she hasn't decided on a college for next year, but she's considering William Woods University in Fulton, Mo., an NAIA school that has offered her a basketball scholarship.
Bosick said she'd like to study equine science, and the school's location in the middle of the country's horse industry appeals to her.
"I want to be a part of that. I ride as much as I can," Bosick said.
Bosick said she's been around horses all her life, starting out on her grandfather's animals. She now has two horses of her own, Shiloh and Dakota.
Bosick said she doesn't do much riding in the summer months, instead commercial fishing with her family in Prince William Sound.
"I do it to make money to feed my horses," Bosick said.
When she does get out on horseback, Bosick said she mainly rides Western style, though she loves riding bareback and she goes hunting on horseback with her family.
For now, Bosick's focus is on basketball. The Wolverines will begin defense of their state title Thursday at Service High School in Anchorage.
"She's an irreplaceable teammate," Whitney Leman said. "She's usually on the receiving or giving end of everything I do.
"During basketball season, that's all we do. We're in some of the same classes, but it's all about basketball for us right now."
Bosick has taken on the role of captain for the Wolverines, and while she's not the most outspoken player on the court, she still finds ways to be a positive influence on her teammates.
"The other girls look up to her," Dan Leman said. "She's not real vocal. She leads by example -- I like that. She's not afraid to jump in and give advice, but she's not a screamer."
"I'm not really bossy," Bosick said. "I try not to yell at people -- I don't like it when people yell at me. (My job is) just getting all the girls going."
Dan Leman said Bosick is one of his top defenders, and while she spends a lot of time under the basket on offense, he said she has excellent shooting range.
"I'd like to get out and do a little ballhanding, but I'd need to practice a little bit," Bosick said. "I'm a little short for some post stuff, but I can do some wing stuff."
Bosick, who stands 5-foot-8 1/2, said she'd love to be as tall as her mother.
"She's 5-10, and she always calls me shorty," Bosick said.
Bosick said she's excited to be in the state tournament again, though she knows it means her high school career is nearing its end.
"I don't want it to end at all," Bosick said. "It's been too much fun. This season has gone by way too fast."
Of course, with Bosick running the floor, is there any other way the Wolverines' season could go?
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