Marilyn Milton has been busy since being named head girls’ basketball coach at York Comprehensive High School.
“I’m feeling really good about the girls,” Milton said after an intense Monday practice. “They’ve been working really, really hard the last couple of weeks. We’re asking a lot of them.”
Milton, who stepped down as Chester head girls’ basketball coach after a successful tenure, prefers an up-tempo style of play.
“We’ve been working a lot on our transition game, getting them up and down the court,” she said. “We’ve been doing a lot of scrimmaging, working on trapping and our man-to-man defense.”
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Milton likes what she has seen in the players’ approach to practice and their willingness to do what’s asked.
“I do believe they are excited,” she said. “We were out of the gym last week due to exams and they were very excited to come back. They started out moving a little slow and we had to give them a little encouragement.”
Milton lauded the players for responding in a positive manner to afternoon practices.
“Whenever we ask them to do extra, they do extra,” she said. “”When we ask them to go harder, they go harder. When we ask them to make the five-second sprint, they make it. We dropped it down to four seconds and they made it. Anytime we’ve raised the bar, they’ve really been stepping up.”
Milton said she and the assistant coaches have devoted time to the smaller details of the game.
“We talk about the little things we need to do, things like boxing out, rebounding, hustling for the ball,” she said. “Those are the things that can be big for us this season. They’ve been working hard on that.”
Milton has put together an active itinerary for the Lady Cougars for June.
“We want to see the girls get better every play day,” she said. “We’re gonna play about three games every play date. Our goal is to try to get in an 18- to 20-game schedule this summer. I think we’re gonna meet that.”
Milton said the YCHS girls will become road warriors this month, facing competition at various locations.
“We will go to Union to start out, then to Clover,” she said. “We’ll make it down to Columbia to A.C. Flora. We have some tough competition lined up there, which I think will be a good tune-up to get ready for stops at UNC Charlotte, Gardner Webb and Wingate.”
Milton said the afternoon workouts at YCHS have been beneficial.
“I’ve had some pleasant surprises from a lot of the girls,” she said. “We’ve seen girls step up that we thought were a little timid from time to time. We’ve seen good post play, guard play and good decision-making.
“Every practice, we see something that they do well. We’re excited about that because we know we have something to build on.”
With so much time devoted to the fundamentals of the game, Milton is looking for supreme effort.
“Most of all, we want the girls to go 100 percent,” she said. “We want them to give us everything, to give everything to their teammates and to leave it all on the court.
“I think when all is said and done, they will be a better team and will come up with the big wins that they need. I think the program will be moving in the right direction.”
Milton is spending time this week cleaning out her belongings at Chester High School.
“I really am excited to be in York,” she said. “Since I have been coming here for practice, I’ve been welcomed by every teacher that meets me, every administrator, parent and the district office.
Milton is grateful for the support base. “It’s gonna be a great season. I’m looking forward to being part of the staff.”
Milton maintains that it takes a team effort, from the coaching staff all the way down to the players, to build a winning program.
“That’s what makes it so great; we’re all in it together,” she said. “One thing I definitely know. These girls want to win. They show it every day they come to practice.
She added: “I haven’t heard one complaint from a girl yet. And that is impressive.”