Former McClain standout Shania Massie enjoyed success as a member of the Shawnee State women's basketball program. (Photo courtesy of SSU Athletics)
Former McClain standout Shania Massie enjoyed success as a member of the Shawnee State women's basketball program. (Photo courtesy of SSU Athletics)
Players who embrace any type of role asked of them, and are talented enough to play multiple roles, are always a welcome commodity on any basketball team.

From a clear-cut No. 1 option who scored over 1,400 career points in her high school basketball days at Greenfield McClain to a person that embraced grit and grind with Shawnee State, Shania Massie grew throughout her time on the floor and made the most of her opportunities.

The three-year letterwinner, who appeared in 103 out of 104 games and started in 51 of those contests, contributed heavily to Shawnee State's 87-17 overall record as well as two regular season and conference tournament championship teams (2016-17 and 2017-18) during that timespan.

However, it's the people that Massie met, as well as the memories that she made, that will stick out in her mind more than anything that she accomplished on the floor.

"It's an honor to be an alum of the Shawnee State program," Massie said. "I was able to visit places that I would've never dreamed of prior to attending. Some of the best people are a part of Shawnee State. (Jeff) Nickel gave me the opportunity to continue my education and athletic career, which I am very thankful for. He not only taught me basketball, but also taught me things about life and being successful outside of being on the court.

“I was an undecided major up until my junior year of college, and if it weren't for Shawnee State, I wouldn't have two degrees in what I now love. Also, I want to thank my family, friends, teammates and coaches for believing in me to become successful."

Playing up and showing out

From the start, Massie challenged herself early. In fact, Massie played as much as three grades above her level when she was younger in order to develop the skills and pace necessary to make strong transitions within the sport itself.

"I started really young with basketball, and sports in general," Massie said. "I started when I was in kindergarten, but I didn't start competing until I was in the second grade and played up for a fourth and fifth grade travel team. I also played on the boys team so I could get more competition and get challenged a little bit more."

Early work pays off in large amount

Having challenged herself early in her developmental stage, the transition from junior high school to high school basketball proved to be close to seamless for the 5-8 standout.

At McClain, Massie not only worked her way into the starting lineup, but proceeded to make an impact that put her as one of the best players in the state, regardless of division.

After earning Second-Team All-South Central Ohio League (SCOL) honors as a freshman, Massie became the focal point of a McClain program that improved throughout her final three seasons of high school basketball.

She notched First-Team All-SCOL and Division II Second-Team All-Southeast District accolades by averaging 16.5 points per game, then following McClain's move to Division III, led the Tigers to greater postseason success, with McClain taking home a Division III District Championship and advancing to the Division III, Region 11 Semifinals in Massie's junior season (2013-14) and going back to the Division III District Finals in Massie's senior campaign (2014-15).

In both of those campaigns, Massie, by averaging 17.4 points per game as a junior and 17.8 points per bout as a senior, notched Division III First-Team All-Southeast District and Third-Team All-Ohio honors in both campaigns, finishing with over 1,400 points, according to the Highland County Press, to finish second all-time in the history of the McClain basketball program in career scoring. The same outlet had Massie with 500 career rebounds, 326 steals and 238 rebounds for her career as Massie capped off her career by leading McClain to a 21-4 overall record in the 2014-15 season and its first SCOL Championship since 1991.

Beyond basketball, Massie was also a reliable softball and golf hand for McClain, helping lead the Tigers to a SCOL Championship in 2011 and finishing as McClain's top scorer in the 2014 Division II Southeast Sectional Tournament at Upper Landsdowne Golf Course in Ashville in the latter sport while also becoming a multi-time All-Southeast District honoree on the diamond for the Tigers as well.

"I loved playing at McClain," Massie said. "With playing for McClain, you always knew that you had the whole community, friends and family rooting for you at the games. I was pushed to my limits and I'm thankful for my coaches that pushed me to be a better player. I was taught sacrifice, dedication, perseverance and hard work, which has and will continue to lead me to be successful. I truly do miss playing everyday, and it's nothing to take for granted."

Shawnee State, Shania prove to be perfect match

Massie, who initially signed with NCAA Division I member and Big South Conference participant Charleston Southern, returned to the local area and joined Ohio-Chillicothe's softball program.

Then, a huge door opened in the form of the Shawnee State women's basketball program. Offering a strong, competitive opportunity in the sport that Massie had excelled to great lengths in the first place, joining said program, especially under Jeff Nickel's direction became a formality.

She never looked back with the opportunity. In her first season alone, Massie scored in double-figures five times in a complimentary role off of the bench and collected three or more assists on eight separate occasions to firmly entrench herself in the rotation after appearing in 34 games for the Bears in 2016-17.

During the 2017-18 campaign, Massie stepped it up further, appearing in the same amount of contests but starting in 15 games as opposed to one all while improving her efficiency in every category. She was one of five players on the 10-player roster to shoot better than 35 percent from three-point range for the Bears, and boosted her averages from 1.9 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game to 4.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists per outing.

In the Bears' run to the No. 1 overall ranking during the 2017-18 season, Massie scored in double-figures in nine games, posted five or more rebounds in 14 outings, three or more assists in 13 contests and two or more steals in 12 affairs.

Included in that total was a 22-point barrage over Georgetown (67-52 victory), a 12-point, four-rebound, three-steal effort against Cumberlands, Ky. (62-49 win), and a career-high 30-point, five-rebound, five-assist and two-steal effort against Life, Ga. (111-49 victory). In those three games alone, Massie shot 24-of-39 from the field and 11-of-21 from beyond the arc, leading SSU to its third consecutive Mid-South Conference Championship.

"It was an awesome feeling," Massie said. "We had great team chemistry, and I gained some of my best friends. Nothing came easy, and we worked extremely hard to be as successful as we were. We were there to pick each other up when one of us was down. It was an all-around great group of girls. Hard work makes the dream work."

She closed out her career with 16 double-figure contests, 16 games with five rebounds or more, and 16 games with two steals or more as a senior in 2018-19 while averaging 9.8 points and 4.5 rebounds per game -- including an 18-point, 11-rebound showing against Asbury (Ky.) and a 28-point, 13-rebound performance against Oakland City (Ind.).

"To be honest, I was terrified when I first talked to (Nickel)," Massie said of her initial conversation. "I was very timid the first six months of being there, but all of the coaches and my teammates were very helpful and welcoming, which made SSU feel like home to me. I absolutely loved playing for Coach Nickel and his staff. There's only one thing that I regret, and that is only attending Shawnee State for three years. I wish that I would've started my freshman year there and had a full four years to play and develop under him. He knows how to win and have fun, and he also knows when it's time to get serious."

Along with her skills on the floor — as well as her two years contributing to Shawnee State's women's golf program — Massie also excelled in the classroom. As a health science major who also focused on occupational therapy, Massie graduated with over 160 hours of academic credit, all while maintaining a 3.75 GPA. She earned an associate's and a bachelor's degree in May.

"It was difficult at times, like the vast majority of majors are, but I was able to learn about the diseases of the body, the ethics of healthcare and the overall skills that are required of you to work in healthcare," Massie said. "I really enjoyed learning the science and history behind it."

Through challenging herself in various ways — and being one of the major pieces of glue that helped the Shawnee State women's basketball program achieve tremendous goals, including a No. 1 national ranking — Massie is more confident than ever about where she is at as a person.

"It has prepared me for the real world by being able to follow through with something as well as accomplishing it," Massie said. "I realized that not having your life figured out is definitely OK. Things change, and so will your plans.

“I don't regret college whatsoever and hope that others feel the same way, because some of the greatest blessings happen within those college years. I'm thankful for all of the relationships that I've created with my colleagues, teammates and coaches."

For more on the health sciences program, visit https://www.shawnee.edu/areas-study/college-professional-studies/health-sciences/health-science-bachelors-degree.

For more on the various occupational therapy tracks offered, visit https://www.shawnee.edu/areas-study/college-professional-studies/rehabilitation-sports-professions/occupational-therapy-assistant, https://www.shawnee.edu/areas-study/college-professional-studies/rehabilitation-sport-professions/occupational-therapy-bachelors-masters-3-2 and https://www.shawnee.edu/areas-study/graduate-programs/occupational-therapy-masters-degree.

For more information on SSU Bears Athletics, visit www.ssubears.com or visit the Twitter and Facebook pages at https://twitter.com/SSUBears and https://www.facebook.com/SSUBears. For more information on how to join the SSU Bear Club or for sponsorship of specific SSU players or events, visit https://givetossu.com/bear-club and https://givetossu.com/sponsorthebears.