Elite 10 Girls Player of the Year: Team-first mentality drives Harpursville's Miranda Drummond

Elite 10 Girls Player of the Year: Team-first mentality drives Harpursville's Miranda Drummond

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Elite 10 Girls Player of the Year: Team-first mentality drives Harpursville's Miranda Drummond

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Miranda Drummond scored 1,930 points in her career, was on the winning side in 87 of 95 games at Harpursville and celebrated three Section 4 Class C championships.

The defining moments of her four-year varsity career, however, came when few people were looking.

Moments such as sprinting up and down the court for layups during water breaks in practice, giving advice to teammates and dealing with whatever challenges came her way in a first-class manner.

Throw in an extraordinary aptitude for basketball and you have a repeat selection as the Elite 10 Girls Basketball Player of the Year, as picked by the sports staffs at the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin, Elmira Star-Gazette and The Ithaca Journal.

“She’s done a lot for us,” Harpursville coach Kurt Ehrensbeck said. “She really kept the momentum going that some of the players before her established. She saw their work ethic and the rewards of that and she jumped right on the train, so to speak. She’s worked extremely hard to enhance the talent she has. She put in a ton of time to become a very good ball player. The kids around her see that and it’s infectious.”

Drummond, 18, ended up third on the school’s all-time list behind 2,000-point sisters Hannah and Lindsay Kimmel.

Her numbers this season included averages of 26.3 points, 11.3 rebounds and 4 assists per game for a Hornets team that finished 23-1 and advanced to the Class C state semifinals. The 6-foot guard/forward connected on 44 3-pointers and was a defensive force, blocking 48 shots and averaging 2.2 steals.

She averaged 31.7 points during Harpursville’s four sectional games and two state tournament contests.

“The thing that impressed me was the way she elevated her game the last four weeks of the season,” Ehrensbeck said. “She took everything to just a different level.”

Said Drummond: “I just took each game one step at a time. I wasn’t looking forward to the next game or who we would be playing. I just focused on that team.”

Drummond came up shy of a state title — losing twice in the finals before this year’s semifinal loss — and she said she was upset she fell short of 2,000 career points. There was little else to complain about, though, especially with this season’s group surprising even its coach by advancing to the final four after losing three starters to graduation.

“Every year a different group comes up,” Drummond said. “We’ve never been closer any other year that we have been this year. We had maybe five team sleepovers. I just loved it.”

Her teammates had a blast playing with her as well.

“It’s always good to have somebody you can look up to when you’re playing on the court and someone you can trust when you’re playing,” said junior Shelby Medovich. “If we ever needed help with something in practice, she was the first one to come up and help you. Or if you’re doing something wrong, she’ll tell you how to correct what you’re doing.”

Ehrensbeck said he was particularly impressed by how Drummond handled the constant attention from opposing defenses, rarely getting frustrated and instead just trying to find another way to help her team score.

“She just trusted us and how we managed to go so far is other people stepped up when she was double-teamed or triple-teamed,” Medovich said.

The defensive attention got to the point that it became the norm for Drummond, the daughter of Vinny and Diane Drummond and younger sister of brother Alex, 19.

“It doesn’t really bother me because I’ve been dealing with it since I was in 10th grade,” she said. “After the games Mr. (Ehrensbeck) points it out, saying I was double-teamed. I don’t even notice I’m double-teamed now because I’m so used to it.”

Ehrensbeck said Drummond has a great understanding of what he calls “the switch.” When game time rolls around, she turns it on and becomes the ultra-competitive player who will do whatever she can to help her team win.

“A lot of times what you see is the passion and the fire and intensity,” Ehrensbeck said. “But she’s a super nice kid and after the game she’s just a normal kid. She’ll sit there and joke around with friends and laugh and do silly stuff.”

Elmira Notre Dame girls coach Maurice Rankins had a chance to help coach Drummond during the Basketball Coaches Association of New York Summer Hoops Festival and saw Drummond volunteer to defend Saniya Chong, New York state’s fourth-leading career scorer among girls and now a freshman at UConn.

“She’s a student of the game, but more importantly she respects the game,” Rankins said. “What’s also good about her is she’s not scared to play against other talented players. She won’t run away from them.”

Drummond will join Oneonta senior Mariah Ruff on the St. Bonaventure University women’s team next season. They had a chance recently to team up during the Stars & Stripes Basketball Tournament at Davis College in Johnson City.

Drummond has continued to work on ballhandling, which she said remains the weakest part of her game, and she will practice with an AAU team as she gets set for summer classes at St. Bonaventure in late June.

“From here on out she’s probably not going to be triple-teamed every time she has the ball,” Ehrensbeck said. “She’ll be able to get more in the flow at that level. If she keeps working hard, good things are going to happen.”

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Elite 10 Girls Player of the Year: Team-first mentality drives Harpursville's Miranda Drummond
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