FLORENCE — Most players like seeing the ball go through the basket, but Juana Macedo loves watching it bounce off the rim.

Despite being just a sophomore, Florence’s post has already become a force on the floor, establishing herself as a presence in the paint by providing an aspect many players overlook.

To her, however, getting physical is the best part of the game.

“I love rebounding,” Macedo said. “When I’m rebounding, it makes me feel like I’m the game’s biggest presence in the box.”

On Friday, she was.

Standing 5 feet, 7 inches, Macedo pulled down a game-high eight rebounds, including six in the first half as the Lady Buffaloes were building a 25-point lead en route to a 65-20 victory against Hill Country Christian.

Along the way, she grabbed several offensive rebounds, leading directly to second-chance points for herself or a teammate, and while the production would be impressive to most, it is merely a common occurrence to those who see her play on a regular basis.

“Juana is just steady for us,” Florence head coach Drake Stanczak said. “She’s been like that all year. She’s a very good rebounder and a true low-post player, and we just know she is going to go down there and give us some points and big rebounds every game.”

Senior guard Mackenzie Futrell, who has seen plenty of players come and go during her tenure with the team, agrees.

“She is really valuable to us,” Futrell said. “She is a big part of our team. She always seems to get the rebounds when we need them, and she’ll kick it out to us so we can get a fastbreak going down the court.

“She really means a lot to us.”

Against the Lady Knights, Macedo made an immediate impact.

After Florence senior Clarissa Carranco scored the game’s opening points on a layup, Macedo single-handedly increased the Lady Buffaloes’ lead to 6-0 as her offensive rebound led to a putback before she connected on a jumper from the free-throw line.

In the second quarter, she scored twice off offensive rebounds, with the second giving Florence a 41-16 advantage it took into halftime.

Along with her rebounding, Macedo finished with 10 points, making five of her first six shots, and tallied a steal.

“I was feeling really good,” she said. “It was awesome.”

While Macedo’s performances to start the season have been strong, her potential has yet to be fully revealed, according to Stanczak.

“You just don’t see sophomores who can play like that,” he said. “She has really good hands. She’s great at catching the ball, she has really good timing, and she is just going to continue to get better.”

The Lady Buffaloes hope Macedo’s skills will lead them to a playoff appearance this season.

After suffering a lopsided loss to District 25-3A foe Jarrell, which is ranked No. 1 in the state by the Texas Girls Coaches Association and third in the current Texas Association of Basketball Coaches poll, Florence (4-8, 0-1) looks to bounce back against Lago Vista on Tuesday.

Regardless of whether the Lady Buffaloes win or lose, though, Futrell feels Macedo will play a vital role.

“She is really young,” Futrell said, “but she is a really hard worker, and she plays for her team.”

Contact Clay Whittington at clayw@kdhnews.com

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