Drumheller finds perfect fit with Mary Washington

By Tommy Keeler Jr.

WINCHESTER — It took a little time, but Erin Drumheller found the school that fit her perfectly.

The Sherando graduate and current Mary Washington women’s basketball player chose to play at Division II Fairmont State University out of high school in 2011.

Things didn’t go quite the way Drumheller wanted.

“Freshman year, it was rough,” Drumheller said after Mary Washington’s win over Shenandoah on Tuesday night. “I guess it’s something that every freshman in college experiences, but more so than not getting much playing time, there was no good feeling about it. Every day was a bad challenge.”

Drumheller decided she needed to make a change, but the 5-foot-4 point guard didn’t want to play basketball. The experience she had at Fairmont State had left a bad taste in her mouth. Drumheller applied to Mary Washington, and when women’s basketball coach Deena Applebury found out, she knew she had to reach out to her.

Applebury had recruited Drumheller out of high school and was able to convince her to play for the Eagles.

“Everything happens for a reason,” Drumheller said. “It’s been pretty surreal.”

Last year Drumheller played in 27 games, and started in 18 of them. She averaged three rebounds per game, and had 47 assists, 21 steals and 58 points for the Eagles, who won 20 games.

In high school, Drumheller finished with 1,355 points playing three years at Handley and one for Sherando. She finished with 620 assists and 404 steals.

Drumheller, now a junior, said one thing she learned quickly was how much tougher the game is at the college level.

“It’s definitely different from high school,” Drumheller said. “It’s more of a team game. It’s more of working together. In high school you could get by on having two, three good players, but here all five on the floor at all times have to be ready to play.”

One thing that hasn’t changed since high school is Drumheller’s love of making an assist. She is averaging a team-high 2.8 assists per game for the Eagles this season.

Drumheller drove to the basket late in the first half against Shenandoah, and at the last second she made a nice pass to Brianne Comden for the easy score.

“Assists are just as fun as scoring. You saw everyone’s reaction — they were as excited about the pass as they were about [Comden] making the basket,” Drumheller said. “It’s all about working together.”

Applebury said Drumeheller is a very important part of the team.

“She’s got a big heart. She plays hard, She’s very coachable,” Applebury said. “She’s very unselfish, and just a phenomenal kid. She brings a lot to the table. She runs our offense. She gets the ball up the court, she sets us up. She gets us in our offense and gets us going.”

Drumheller said it was great being able to play in her hometown on Tuesday, but what was really important was the team picking up the win.

The Eagles are now 3-1, and Drumheller said she thinks the team can have a lot of success this year.

“I think we have a great group of freshmen and a transfer that have added depth and really a lot more to this team,” Drumheller said. “Sam [Partonen], Aby [Diop] and Brieneke [Matthes], being their senior year, I’ve really seen them step up and contribute a lot this year.”

Win or lose, Drumheller knows she made the right choice in coming to Mary Washington.

“Honestly, I couldn’t be happier with everything,” Drumheller said. “Relationships on and off the court, it’s truly a family.

“I couldn’t ask for a better group of girls. They really pulled me in and kind of took me under their wings.”

Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com Follow on Twitter @tkeelernvd