Chuck Miller has coached a lot of basketball games over his long, distinguished career.
When he returned to the sidelines for his debut as head coach for the St. Mary’s girls basketball team on Tuesday, he had a little case of the nerves.
Miller didn’t let the nerves get to him, as he led his new team to a 68-37 victory over Catholic in his first game as a varsity head coach since stepping down from the same position at Severn following the 2015 season.
“I’m always nervous,” said Miller, who is also the junior varsity head coach and led that team to a victory as well on Tuesday. “It’s really nice to be back. I didn’t realize how much I missed it until I started coming to the gym every day. I couldn’t be happier.”
Early-season confidence will be important for the Saints, who are coming off a 7-16 season and have just one senior on this year’s squad. That lone senior, Mackenzie Kaderabek, led the Saints on Tuesday with 12 points, three steals and a pair of rebounds. Eight of her points came in the first half for the Saints, who never trailed and took control right away and led by 20 points after the first quarter.
“It feels good to get our first win. Our team is a small team and we started out a little scared, but we’ve had a lot of practices and we’ve gotten better. “Kaderabek said. “I get to play a leadership role. I’m one of the three captains and it feels good to be the only senior.”
Elizabeth Gilman had nine points in the first half and finished with 11 points, 12 rebounds and two steals. Five of her points came late in the first quarter and were part of a 15-0 run that helped the Saints build the big lead.
“This was a really good game for us because everyone was really involved and everyone got to play,” Gilman said. “This is a good start to get the ball rolling with a lot of confidence.”
Whitney Albert added 11 points and five rebounds, Claire Richardson had seven points, six rebounds and three steals and Ashley Roy also scored seven points for St. Mary’s, which will play Broadneck, Severna Park and Arundel as part of their non-conference schedule.
“We have three good county games. I think it’s a challenging schedule for our kids,” Miller said. “We only have one senior, but these kids want to win and they just play like they want to win every game.”
Miller took over for Trey Quinn, who is now coaching the St. Mary’s boys team. Miller officially stepped down from Severn in May 2016 and was hired at St. Mary’s this July, meaning his retirement lasted all of 14 months.
“He’s a really good coach. He really knows the game of basketball and he’s taught me a lot,” Kaderabek said. “He just knows how to get plays done.”
Madison Liggett scored 19 points to lead Catholic, which plays in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland C Conference.
Catholic (0-1) 3 16 7 11 — 37
St. Mary’s (1-0) 23 14 14 17 — 68