Junior Shani Plante is a captain on the Old Orchard Beach girls’ basketball team, coached by her father, Dean. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer Buy this Photo

OLD ORCHARD BEACH — Shani Plante is the third daughter to play for Old Orchard Beach High girls’ basketball coach Dean Plante. And she’s quite unlike her older sisters.

“They’re all adequate shooters, but that’s where the similarities end,” said Dean Plante, who is also the athletic director and head football coach of the Seagulls. “Shani is a little more animated on the court. Haley was calm, as well as the team jokester who kept everyone loose. Bri was stoic, worked hard, showed little emotion. Shani? She wears her emotions on her sleeve. She goes 100 mph in everything she does.”

A junior, 16-year-old Shani Plante is a captain of the basketball team. She played soccer in the fall, and is involved in many other school activities: Interact Club, National Honor Society, Student Council, Spanish Club and the prom committee.

Q: Old Orchard Beach is one of the smaller schools in the area (an enrollment of 243 students according to the Maine Principals’ Association). Do you ever wish you went somewhere bigger?

A: This is definitely where I want to be. I’ve grown up around Old Orchard Beach. I’ve been to the games since I could walk. Both my sisters went here. Both my parents went here. Every member of my family has gone here. The relationships that I’ve made with the students and teachers are something I don’t take for granted. Being from such a small school everybody knows each other, everybody has a close relationship and that’s definitely something that I appreciate.

Q: Is it difficult playing for your dad?

A: At times. I think the relationship that I have with my father makes it easier. He’s my best friend. I’ve been close to my father for my entire life and that makes it a lot easier. But obviously it’s difficult being the coach’s daughter and playing as much as I do. Things are said and people are not going to agree with the decisions he makes coaching-wise. I think that we have such a close relationship that it doesn’t negatively affect that.

Q: Did your sisters prepare you for it?

A: Yeah. I played with my older sister Bri my freshman year. And watching her leadership has definitely helped me. I always looked up to her and she was a good role model. She kind of showed me how to handle it and how to handle the pressure. I owe her that one.

Q: Do dinner table discussions revolve around sports?

A: We talk sports. My mom loves to talk sports. She loves to talk sports. Me and my dad, we consult, we talk about it. I give him my input on how things went, he gives me things I can work on and what we can work on as a team. But there’s also so many other things we talk about. My life isn’t just sports and our relationship isn’t just sports.

Q: He’s not only your coach but the school’s athletic director. Does that add another layer to your relationship?

A: I have to watch the decisions I make extra carefully. I don’t want to get in trouble outside of school or even in school for any bad decisions I would make. So even that is a lot of extra pressure. There’s always someone watching. Which, like, it’s obviously helped me stay out of trouble, but it’s extra pressure.

Q: How would you describe yourself as a player?

A: I think aggressive. I think I’m very vocal on the court. I enjoy being around the team, I enjoy talking with the team and having fun with them. Something I’ve had to work on is not showing my frustration on the court. That’s something I’m getting better at as I get older and take more responsibility on the court. I still have a lot of progress to make but I’m getting there.

Q: What is it like living in Old Orchard Beach during the summer as opposed to rest of the year?

A: In the summer there’s a lot more tourists, obviously. In the winter it’s like a ghost town, there isn’t anybody here besides the locals. In the summer there’s fireworks, downtown, the beach, I think it’s fun. You go downtown and I see all my friends working there. In the winter it’s the people I go to school with and the locals. That’s about it.

Q: What are your hopes for the season?

A: I think this season is going to be a lot of growth, that’s my hope. We’re very young. We have five or six freshmen that are going to be seeing a lot of varsity time this year … I think we have a lot of talent. I think we can go far, but we always have to focus on growing as a team. That team chemistry is what I’m looking for and so far the team really connects.

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