DENVER — It’s been a wild year for Niwot girls basketball coach Terri Ward.
Ward returned from a three-year hiatus to fill a desperate coaching need with her old team. At the end of her first season out of retirement, Ward found herself named as the coach of the Blue Team at Colorado’s premier preps showcase game, The Show.
“It’s been wild, but good wild,” Ward said. “Coaching these guys, you don’t really coach them. You just watch them. You just get five on and get everybody equal playing time and let them play. It was a pleasure to be a part of this.”
Ward said she has coached classification all-star games before but never one that featured the all-around best in the state. She even received some friendly ribbing from Altitude Denver Nuggets broadcaster Bill Hanzlik for over-coaching.
Over-coaching or no, Ward’s Blue Team defeated the White team 45-38.
Ward coached the Niwot girls for 20 years and won 244 games before retiring after the 2009-10 season.
The Cougars’ seven wins in Ward’s first season back at the helm were more than the two previous seasons combined. The good news for the Cougars is that Ward, who took the job on an interim basis, has agreed to return to the Cougars bench for at least the 2014-15 season.
“I told them I would take it year by year and see how it goes,” Ward said. “Right now, they’re working hard and I’m enjoying it. It’s fun again. I’m not sticking around for another 20, I told them that for sure, but I’ll definitely be back next year.”
A local coaching legend, Ward is the president of the Colorado Coaches of Girls Sports, was part of Niwot High School’s inaugural freshman class in 1972 and was the first recipient of the Lifetime Leadership Award from the Silver Creek Leadership Academy last January.
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Blue 45, White 38
At Pepsi Center
Blue Team scoring
Michaela Onyenwere 13, Callie Kaiser 10, Tatum Neubert 5, Mikayla Reese 3, Lexy Thorderson 3, Michelle Cox 2, Katie Cunningham 1, Katie Chavez 0, Lindsey Chavez 0, Kylee Shook 0.
White Team scoring
Myanne Hamm 9, Justine Hall 8, Shannon Patterson 7, Mackenzie Forrest 4, Mikaela Eppard 4, Shelby Patterson 3, Anna Ptasinski 3, Shayln Johnson 1, Diani Akigbogun 0, Savannah Smith 0.
Score by quarters:
Blue team 10 9 12 14 — 45
White team 11 6 7 14 — 38
Rebounds — Blue: Hamm 9, Hall 8, Sha. Patterson 7, Smith 6, Forrest 4, Eppard 4, She. Patterson 3, Ptasinski 3, Johnson 1. White: Onyenwere 13, Kaiser 11, Cunningham 10, Neubert 6, Shook 5, Thorderson 4, Cox 3, Reese 3, K. Chavez 2. Assists — Blue: Smith 5, Sha. Patterson, She. Patterson, Akigbogun. White: Cunningham 3, Reese 2, Cox, K. Chavez. Steals — Blue: Hall 3, Hamm 3, Sha. Patterson 2, Forrest 2, Akigbogun. White: Kaiser 6, Onyenwere 2, Shook. Total fouls — Blue 19, White 10.