MADEIRA – It’s been quite the turnaround this season for the Madeira High School girls basketball team.
The Amazons are undefeated (11-0) and ranked No. 1 in The Enquirer Division II-IV area coaches’ poll.
After a 10-12 season a year ago, early success has not flooded the Amazons’ heads. Madeira has a philosophy — “one notch at a time” — and a sense of humor.
When third-year coach Haley Warden introduced the precept, her team then drew a belt in the locker room. They’re currently filling that belt up, a notch at a time.
“They do a good job of keeping a little head. They watch enough college basketball and football to know that rankings don’t really mean that much,” Warden said.
While winning 11 straight games is impressive, even more impressive is the way in which the Amazons have done so. They’re scoring more than 72 points per contest and holding opponents to just 32. They can get out and run offensively, and they can shoot. On defense, they bring pressure and they’re active.
Four seniors illuminate a deep, talented roster. The senior leaders are Celia Kline, her twin sister, Mallory Kline, guard Robin Blocksom and center Nikki Macke, who averages 10.2 points.
Celia’s the Cincinnati Hills League leader in points per game with 21.5 and the assist-per-game leader with 5.5. She hasn’t been held under 17 points in a game this season.
“She’s the coach on the floor — the girls look up to her,” said Warden of Celia.
The underclassmen have benefited from a strong senior class and vice versa. Marin Kline, the third sister, is a freshman who hopes to pick up right where her older sisters leave off. Freshman Mary Englert is first in the CHL in steals per game (3.7) and third in assists (4.1). Junior Jamie Grob has helped Macke in the paint. Grob averages 9.1 rebounds per game, fourth in the CHL.
In preparation for the season, the Amazons went to work conditioning. They play a demanding style, always moving, sprinting up and down the floor. Warden has noticed that her team is in prime shape.
“We’re such an up-and-down team racing up and down the floor,” Warden said. “In the past, they’ve gotten tired. This season I’ve yet to have anyone ask to come off the floor because they’re tired.”
Madeira has thrived under a team chemistry that more closely resembles a family atmosphere, according to Warden.
The Amazons get along, on and off the floor. That much is obvious.