Valhalla — Emily Stallings is already in a Marist state of mind.

Valhalla — Emily Stallings is already in a Marist state of mind.

It's not often a high school junior is offered — let alone accepts — a college basketball scholarship but that's what awaits Stallings.

"I am happy about that,'' Stallings said yesterday after her Hudson Valley team toppled Central and earned a berth in today's Empire State Games gold-medal contest. "I can play with Brian Giorgis, one of the best coaches I know. It will be fun to play college basketball for a winning program.''

Stallings, a forward for John S. Burke Catholic, said she received recruiting interest from 30 Division I schools so she figures she has saved herself from fielding dozens of daily phone calls next season. "I can play my senior year without having the pressure to pick between different schools.''

Instead, she can work on improving her quickness and her post-up moves and getting open for shots.

Stallings said she likes the Red Foxes' "equal-opportunity offense'' and her hustling style should fit in well with the two-time NCAA tourney participant starting in 2008-09.

Playing with the Hudson Valley team has broadened Stallings' game.

"It's a totally different game than I am used to playing,'' she said.

"It's a whole lot more pushing the ball and running up and down the court, playing pressure defense. It's good to be able to play more than one way. It's a great experience.''