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Coach says Green girls basketball team headed in ‘positive direction’

3/6/2014 - South Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

GREEN — This was Tracy Miller’s third year as head coach of the Green High School girls basketball team, and he says the program is heading in “the right direction.”

“Things are going in a positive direction,” he stated. “We’re getting more players out and we’re getting our youth program built up. The seventh- and eighth-grade programs are built back up. We had no seniors this year, but starting next year, which will be our fourth year together, we’re going to have strong numbers in all our classes.”

Green finished the 2013-14 regular season with a 14-8 overall record, including an 8-6 league mark. The team went 1-1 in the postseason, finishing with a 41-38 loss to Canfield High School in the Division I North Canton District semifinals.

“I think the kids played hard this season,” the coach said. “The expectations, obviously, were to win the Suburban League, but we finished third in the league behind Wadsworth and Revere. You know, we played a pretty tough schedule outside of the league, also. For a young team like we had, to get 15 wins overall, I was pretty excited about doing that.”

Miller said he is pleased with the progress his team made when compared to the previous season.

“We did better this year,” he said. “Some of our kids got a little bit older, and we had a couple more scorers this year than last year. A couple of young players stepped up quite a bit, and we had a freshman named Abbie Pearce who played quite a bit, and she helped us in the scoring.”

According to Miller, Pearce was the team’s first player off the bench this season.

“She started a couple of games, but her role was definitely as our ‘sixth man,’” he said. “I think Abbie had a really good year. There were a couple of games that she kept us in by hitting some deep threes late in the season. I’m looking forward to the next three years of working with her.”

Lilly Carson and Madison Jackson also made a lot of progress as starters in their sophomore years, the coach said.

“They helped us quite a bit on the varsity side this year,” he said. “We asked Lilly to go down and play the post for us this year, because she was one of our stronger kids, and she took that challenge and really did a good job. We always had her playing the top post player defensively. And Madison was probably our second-leading scorer this year. She played well in the post, but she also could step out and hit 15-foot jump shots, as well.”

Miller said junior Julia Guyton was “definitely” Green’s most valuable player this season.

“She does it all for us. She plays pretty good defense, and she’s our leading scorer,” he said. “She was real close to averaging a double-double for us with scoring and rebounds. Towards the end of the season and at tournament time, she really came on strong for us.”

Another returning starter this season was junior McKenzie Black.

“McKenzie is one of our defensive players of the year, along with Lilly,” the coach said. “We ask her to defend the team’s best guard, and she does a very good job. She held a lot of top point guards and two guards under 10 points a game. McKenzie didn’t score a lot whole lot for us, but she was definitely our leader on the floor.”

The team’s fifth starter was junior point guard Tarah McCausland.

“I thought Tarah had a fantastic season,” the coach said. “Without her leadership at point guard and without her scoring, we don’t get nearly as close to our 15 wins as we did. She sees the floor well and passes the ball great. She kept us in a lot of games this year when we needed some scoring.”

With no seniors on this year’s team, Miller said it will be good for the program to have everyone back next season.

“It definitely will be an older team,” he said. “We don’t have a whole lot of size — it’s a small group of kids — but we’ll have a veteran team that will be able to handle things. I’m really looking forward to getting our summer started in the month of June and getting these kids back at it. We’re really excited about our team next year.”

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