Maus, Rebels eye district tournament

by Mark Oliver

With the end of 1A 5 North conference play right around the corner, the Sacred Heart Rebels find themselves right in the thick of things. Currently sitting in third place in the conference, senior post player Stephen Maus feels confident about the team’s chances in the upcoming Class A district tournament.

“We’re in a good spot right now,” Maus said. “We’ve had some big wins this year over some tough conference rivals, and it has set us up to hopefully have a good seed for the district tournament. We made it to the state tournament last year, but came up short in the first round. We are all working hard to get another shot at it again this year. If we can continue to play like we’re playing now, then we’ll be in a good position to go far.”

Maus was selected to this year’s 501 Basketball Team — 35 players representing the best the 501 has to offer both on and off the court. He was nominated by his head coach, Aaron Duvall.

“Stephen is a two-year starter who excels on offense and defense,” Duvall wrote in his nomination. “He is an encouraging leader who works well with the younger guys to help them develop. He is also calm in difficult situations and remains positive when the chips are down. He is a very likable young man and has a very outgoing personality.”

Despite the team’s success on the court, Maus’ senior season hasn’t come without its share of setbacks. The senior has been battling two injuries for the majority of his final year with the Rebels.

“Before the season began, I injured my ankle in practice,” Maus said. “I went up for a ball and came down on it too hard. It caused me to miss the first six games of the year. Shortly after I returned, I injured my other ankle. I’ve never really had injuries like this before, and they’ve come at the worst time being my senior year. It’s hard playing on two hurt ankles, but I’ve been working hard to get back into basketball shape so that I can help my team reach its goals.”

Since returning from injury, Maus’ senior leadership has been instrumental in helping the Rebels achieve victory in close games.

“Communication is key,” Maus said. “When the pressure’s on, I try to talk to my teammates and calm them down in order to make the big shot or the big play that we need. It played an instrumental part in our win over Wonderview.”

According to Maus, that particular victory has played a big part in building the team’s confidence going forward.  

“We’ve had some pretty big wins this year, but beating Wonderview was probably our biggest,” Maus said. “Throughout the game, it was a back-and-forth battle. In the fourth quarter, we forced the game into overtime. In overtime, we went down early, but fought back to force a second overtime. It was a must win game for us and we played really well as a team that game.”

Off the court, Maus is active in student council, Beta Club, Key Club and Catholic Youth Ministry at Sacred Heart. The senior also contributes to the Rebels’ golf and baseball programs and volunteers his time assisting as an altar server at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Morrilton.

“Stephen leads not only on the basketball court, but in the classroom,” Duvall wrote. “He has a cumulative 3.4 GPA, but what makes him a leader in the classroom is his curiosity. Stephen is an outside-the-box thinker who loves to ask questions. He plans to attend the University of Arkansas to major in agricultural business.”

“Being in such a small school, you build great connections with everyone — all your teachers and all your friends,” Maus said. “That’s what’s shaped me into the person I am today. I wouldn’t be who I am if it weren’t for this school. Going to Sacred Heart has really been a blessing to me.”

Maus and the Sacred Heart Rebels return to action Friday at Shirley.