INDIAN RIVER COUNTY – It didn’t take very long for new head coach Neumann Marlett to discover the same old dilemma that confounded the St. Edward’s varsity girls basketball team over the past two seasons.
If you watch a game – or talk to anyone affiliated with the team – the picture immediately comes into sharp focus.
For the Lady Pirates to be competitive, quality play from talented junior twin sisters Myiesha and Tyiesha McLendon is an absolute must.
Fair or not, that has not changed since they came onto the scene as freshman.
However, to get over the hump and turn those competitive efforts into victories, some help would be welcome.
As was the case previously, the key for Marlett is to find a way to integrate role players into the flow of the game to lessen the burden on just two players.
Prior to searching for the right formula with the basketball team, Marlett undertook another challenge earlier this year.
“I’ve been coming to Vero Beach on vacation for 11 years and I always wanted to live here permanently,” he said.
So he closed his printing business in New Jersey and headed south.
Shortly after resettling in our beachside community that he found so desirable, Marlett unpacked 15 years of basketball coaching experience and landed on the hardwood at St. Ed’s.
The coaching change meant a learning process that cut both ways.
In addition to the girls adapting to a new system, Marlett acknowledged that “I am just starting to get to know the kids and what their abilities are. I am aware of some of the problems (adjusting) coming in as a new coach.”
Comments from his players should put him at ease.
“He sees the floor in many ways you don’t even imagine,” said Tyiesha McLendon. “He’s a good coach and a good teacher. We’re working hard every day and getting better as time goes on. We’re always prepared.”
That should put to rest any concerns about players buying in.
Marlett then placed the responsibility for leadership on the floor in the hands of the only two seniors on the roster, Peed and fellow co-captain Danielle Pierone.
Marlett describes Pierone as “the brain out there (on the court). She understands what’s going on and knows how to direct traffic.”
The time-tested system that Marlett installed emphasizes basic principles starting with “tenacious defense to get deflections, then pushing the ball up the court to get as many lay-ups as possible. We need to run the floor and be in basketball shape. Everybody has to hustle, rebound, set screens and do the dirty work.”
With no pure center, the starting lineup features the McLendons at the guard spots with forwards Pierone, Peed and sophomore Marie McCarron positioned down low.
The coach plans for a “seven or eight deep” rotation with junior Marisa Stockton, freshman Sophia Castraberti and eighth grader Maggie McGuire coming off the bench.