Macomb TownshipMay 21, 2013
Dakota girls basketball’s entire graduating class headed to college
By Mark Vest
C & G Staff Writer
Pictured, from left, at a college signing ceremony are Macomb Dakota seniors and basketball players Miranda Bates, Kylie Churches, Kylie Townsley, Kyli Verduci and Olivia Savage. Each player has been given the opportunity to play at the college level.
There are probably not a lot of coaches around who can say that every single senior on their roster has either signed to play with a college program or received an academic scholarship, but you can count Macomb Dakota girls basketball coach Phil McCune as someone who has experienced just that.
Olivia Savage (Albion), Miranda Bates (Albion), Kylie Churces (Siena Heights), Kylie Townsley (Spring Arbor) and Kyli Verduci (Calvin) have all signed with college programs for the opportunity to continue their basketball careers, while Angela Terranova (Michigan State) and Sarah Burke (Michigan) received academic scholarships.
While coaches can have a lasting impact on players’ lives, Dakota’s seniors have also left an impression with McCune.
“Very, very blessed,” he said. “It’s a blessing. They did everything the right way — everything you look for in student-athletes. Worked hard, (and) did everything they were supposed to. Worked hard in the classroom, and that’s where they really got rewarded. That’s something every girl coming through school should look at. They’re good role models for everybody.
“Without the help and hard work of thee Dakota teaching staff, educators and administrators, none of this could have happened. I think it’s a tribute to educators at Dakota and the Chippewa Valley school district.”
As for their accomplishments on the basketball court, over the course of the past four seasons, the Cougars captured three district championships, a Macomb Area Conference White Division title, and they won what McCune thinks is the most amount of games of any graduating class in the history of the program.
McCune understands what Dakota is losing as a result of the seniors’ departure from the program.
“It was a situation where I didn’t have to say a lot or do a lot,” he said. “They were already ready by the time I got there. They were good role models and examples for the rest of the girls. It’s not (going to) be easy to replace that. You just don’t see kids like that every day.”
Just because Dakota’s graduating players won’t be suiting up for the Cougars on the basketball court anymore doesn’t mean they won’t have an impact on the program. McCune thinks that having had the opportunity to play with them will benefit those who will be returning next season.
“The younger girls know in order for (the) program to continue to be successful, they can always look at how these seven seniors handled themselves,” he said. “They know, to have success, they have to do it the right way. The seniors that we have coming up that were juniors last year learned a lot, so I think they’ll be ready to take that next step.”