Elkhart Central girls hoops turning success into opportunity

NOW: Elkhart Central girls hoops turning success into opportunity

ELKHART, Ind. - The high school girls basketball season is beginning to wind down, as teams try to end the season on a high note. One of them is Elkhart Central.

In the first four years of coach Will Coatie's tenure, the Blazers won just 16 total games. Last year, they finally got over the hump with a winning record. This year, they've built on that success.

"It's taking pride in the front of the jersey that says Elkhart," said Coatie. "Taking pride in the community that we're in. Taking pride in the school we go to. We say let our work speak for itself. The kids have done a great job of working every day."

The Blazers are 13-6 heading into the final three games, already posting the most wins in a single season in program history. They've won nine of their last 11, and are outscoring opponents by an average of 15 points per game.

While any team would be excited to have this sort of success, the Blazers say the experience of the past few years has made this run something to remember.

"It means everything, knowing that we're ready and prepared," said senior guard Mady Miller. "We're prepared right now. We still have three more games before postseason, but I feel like we can make a really good run. Win a sectional and continue on afterwards."

While sectionals will certainly be something to excite the Blazers, so is the final game of their regular season.

Central will be playing their last game on January 27 against Oregon-Davis, and the game will take place at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

"We've never really done anything like that before," said senior guard Katey Gaff. "We were all super excited [when we found out]. It's a new opportunity."

That game will tip in the early afternoon, and at night, the players and their families will be able to watch the Pacers game against the Orlando Magic for a discount.

"We're getting more and more opportunities as we show that we're committed and we're making strides and winning more games," said Miller.

While this season has already been a success, Coatie says it's nice to cap it off with this experience before the postseason.

"We've taken our kids down to the state finals the past three years, to see what it's like to be down there. To be able to play there is going to be great. Then, to get them to understand that if we want to go back down there, we have to play well in the tournament."

The thought of making two trips to Bankers Life Fieldhouse in one season shows the strides the Blazers have made in just a short time. Before the game in Indianapolis, they still have games against Bremen and Marian to close out their NIC season.

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