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Work ethic strong with Firestone girls basketball team

11/28/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

WEST AKRON — According to Firestone High School girls basketball head coach Audley McGill, most of his players will be getting their first shot at meaningful varsity minutes this year.

“We’re relatively young. We only bring back one returning starter, and we have three seniors total, but overall, we’re talking about girls who haven’t actually played a lot of varsity minutes,” he stated. “Because a lot of our games were not close games, I was able to get a lot of girls more playing time last year, but it wasn’t in situations where they could really learn from it. I mean, when you put a girl in a game where you’re up 60 points, they are getting some playing time, but it’s not real, true varsity experience.”

McGill said the team’s only returning starter this year is junior guard/forward Darien Carter, and she is learning a new position.

“She is a double/double player. She scores and rebounds, and this year we kind of started playing her on the perimeter more, because I don’t have the guards that I’ve had in the past,” he said. “She’s still learning about playing on the perimeter, but she’s a real good basketball player. She can do a lot of different things.”

According to the coach, two of the team’s seniors — guards Destiny Turner and Yolanda Sims — are slated to start this season.

“Destiny is one of those types of players who really understands what we want to do. She’s been part of the team for the last four years, but she hasn’t really started until this year. This year, I’m asking her to play some at the point to get us going on offense. She’s doing a pretty good job,” McGill said. “Yolanda’s a slasher and a hard worker. She plays good defense and she’s a good kid.”

Two players expected to play key roles this season, McGill said, are freshman guard Savannah Blackwell and junior forward Ashley Ingram.

“Savannah’s going to be a good player. She has some ability. She can shoot the ball and handle the ball. She’s in the mode of several players we’ve had in the past,” the coach said. “This is Ashley’s second year in the program, and she’s coming around. She’s a hard worker — a rebounder and a scorer inside.”

McGill said senior forward Ashley Phillips is the first big off the bench for the team this season.

“Ashley is a hard worker and a rebounder,” the coach stated. “She’s a defensive type who runs the floor well and rebounds well.”

According to McGill, the top strength of this year’s team is the work ethic exhibited by his players.

“These girls work real hard,” he said. “It isn’t my most talented team, but they can make up for it with hard work and effort.”

Last year, Firestone won the City Series championship (compiling an 11-2 league record) and made it to the sectional championship. This year, McGill said, the team is targeting another title.

“That’s an automatic when you have won 11 out of the last 13 titles,” he said. “I don’t have to preach that, because it’s understood.”

McGill has compiled a 221-51 overall record in his 14 seasons with Firestone.

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