‘Consistency in coaching,’ talented athletes, helping West Noble achieve sustained success

West Noble High School girl's basketball coach Dale Marano

Dale Marano has coached girls basketball at West Noble High School long enough to know that beating the best of the Northeast Corner Conference has never been easy and that is certainly the case this season.

The four semifinalists in the league tournament that will convene Friday have a combined record of 57-15 and that group doesn’t even include two-time defending tournament champion Central Noble (14-4) or Westview (6-2 in NECC play this year).

“The top teams, from last year, returned everybody,” Marano told News-Sentinel.com prior to this season. “That is OK, because we’re not going in empty handed. We like where we are.”

That positive sentiment was preached even before the Chargers had won a game this season, so Marano really has to like where his team is today.

West Noble (14-4) will play Fairfield (15-1) at Lakeland High School Friday in one semifinal, while Eastside (13-4) and Angola (15-3) will compete at Westview High School in the other.

Both games will begin at 6 p.m.

The championship game will be Saturday at West Noble at 6 p.m.

West Noble set a program record with 17 wins last season and that is more than likely going to be topped this year. Marano’s group has, at minimum, six games remaining and possibly more.

He is in his 12th season of guiding the program, which he believes has been a big factor in being able to achieve – and sustain – this level of success.

“We’re looking at our seventh winning season in a row,” Marano said. “Our last (NECC championship) was in 2008-09, we had a couple of off years, but since then, we have started building something that was long-lasting.”

“There is a system that the girls are used to. These girls have been running the same system since they were in elementary school. I think that is a big part of (the success) and I also think the consistency in the coaching staff has been great. My assistant Jeff Burns has done a wonderful job and been with us every step of the way.”

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The Chargers implement a trapping 3-2 zone, which has helped it average nearly 15 wins per season over the past six years, and their depth and athleticism has proven to be particularly effective this season.

West Noble is just seven points shy of having won nine games in a row and is holding opponents to less than 39 points per game so far this season, which is the best in Marano’s tenure in Ligonier.

“The 3-2 kind of matches our personnel,” Marano explained. “We probably have more (athleticism) than we have ever had in the 12 years that I’ve been at West Noble.”

“Our depth allows us to trap with more intensity.”

The numbers show how good West Noble has been under Marano and unfortunately for the rest of the area that shouldn’t cease anytime soon.

The Chargers returned nine lettermen to this year’s team, seven of which were not seniors.

West Noble has six players that are averaging between 6.5 points per game and 9.6 per game, and not a one is a senior.

The leader of that group is 5-foot-10 junior guard Maddie Schermerhorn, who paces her team in just about every category statistically.

Schermerhorn is averaging nearly 10 points and seven rebounds per game, but also dishes out 3.4 assists per outing. Defensively, she is harassing the opposition into 4.4 steals per game.

She is joined by classmates Lauren Burns (8.3 points, 2.3 assists, 3.1 steals per game), Megan Godfrey (7.4 points, 4.4 rebounds), Tori Miller (7.5 points), Angela Gross (7.1 points, 4.4 rebounds), and sophomore Kristina Teel (6.5 points).

Miller, Gross and Burns have combined to sink nearly 60 3-pointers this season.

“The junior class is strong,” Marano said. “We have a sophomore class is going to contribute and the freshman class is really good.”

West Noble won the NECC Tournament in 2014, but prior to that, it had been since 1978 since the Chargers claimed the title.

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