The Richfield Revere girls basketball team is 16-3 and can get a share of the Suburban League
title with a win tonight at Copley. The championship would
be the first league title for Revere since 1978. This season
is the culmination of a rebuilding effort and the swan song for a
talented group of five seniors, headlined by Casey Nance, the
daughter of former Cleveland Cavalier Larry Nance.
The Richfield Revere girls basketball team is experiencing success in the 2007-08 season that the program has not seen in quite a while. Revere is 16-3 on the season and can get a share of the Suburban League title with a win Wednesday at arch-rival Copley. The championship would be the first league title for Revere since 1978.
This season is the culmination of a rebuilding effort that began when Kory Malkus took over as head coach five years ago, and the swan song for a talented group of five seniors, headlined by Casey Nance, the daughter of former Cleveland Cavalier Larry Nance.
Although Nance is the centerpiece of this team, like all great team leaders, she cares about more then pure individual numbers. Nance’s drive centers around team and she thrives on doing everything she can to elevate her teammates.
“She’s a tremendous leader and has a great work ethic,” Malkus said. “She’s so unselfish and I think that’s where she stands out. She’s not just the focal point and she knows that. She’d rather give up the ball then shoot.”
Nance is not only a gifted scorer, but she leads the team in multiple statistical categories. Her unselfishness on the court also has her as one of the team assist leaders.
“We battle at times cause sometimes I want her to shoot a little bit more,” said Malkus. “She wants to block shots and rebound more then she wants to score. She’s really stepped up though from her junior to senior year knowing that she has to score, but if she’s double or triple teamed she looks to pass and is happy helping her teammates score.”
As she is closing out her senior year at Revere, Nance’s enhanced scoring ability has helped her further etch her place in the Revere history books. On January 24, Nance reached one of the top individual milestones in high school basketball when she reached 1,000 career points.
Nance came into a home game against Medina Highland 33 points shy of reaching the milestone. With a road game next on the schedule, Nance wanted to make sure she got the mark in front of the home crowd. It took nearly the entire game but finally with under a minute to play in the game, Nance hit two free throws to put her at exactly 1,000 points at games end.
Although reaching the milestone is special, Nance feels there are greater things to come for both her and Revere.
“It was a big accomplishment for me personally, but I would much rather have our team accomplish more,” said Nance. “I think our team is so special, we have the opportunity to do something really great. I’d rather have a team accomplishment over individual accomplishment.”
It takes a special player to reach 1,000 career points, but only a select few get to accomplish the feat during a dream season. Without the help of the four other seniors on Revere – Kelly Rohrich, Michelle McCauley, Allie Knorzer, and Allison McDaniel – the moment and the journey wouldn’t mean as much to Nance.
“I definitely couldn’t have done it without my teammates and if we weren’t doing so hot, then it really wouldn’t have been a big deal cause the team comes first,” said Nance. “The success of the team is really more important then that. We’ve all been together for a really long time. We’ve worked the hardest, put in a lot of time. We know each other’s tendencies. On and off the court we’re best friends, it’s just a great senior class.”
The journey to Nance’s milestone and Revere’s dream season didn’t come as naturally as you might think for the daughter of a local basketball legend. More of a soccer star in her younger years, Nance didn’t begin playing basketball until eighth grade.
Although her father served as in inspiration to finally pick up the basketball, the elder Nance let his daughter choose for herself but the influences were everywhere for Casey.
“Everyone was saying ‘Casey you should play basketball’ so I said ‘Okay fine’,” said Nance. “I pretty much gave into peer pressure and that’s why I started, but now I realize I really have a natural gift from my dad so I might as well take advantage of it.”
When Nance began playing in eighth grade, Malkus, then in her first year on the job, noticed a very raw talent. To help turn Nance into the player she has become today, it took more then just relying on genetics.
“When she started playing she was so raw, and roots help, but also hard work,” said Malkus. “She’s worked so hard and every year she’s just improved tremendously.”
Having a former NBA Star living in-house, can only help a player’s ascent. Larry Nance has been instrumental in the growth of his daughter.
“He’s really had a lot to do with my development ever since I decided to start playing. Ever since then he’s been helping me,” Nance said. “We work hard in the summer, he’s at practice every once in a while to help out. He’s definitely had a huge share in my success and I’m glad to share it with him.”
Casey hasn’t been the only one that’s benefited from Larry’s vast experience. Larry is a frequent visitor to Revere’s practices and has worked with Malkus in making the entire team better.
“He’s definitely in the background, but he loves to be in the gym and be a part of it and wants to help the team out,” said Malkus. “I look at that as a tremendous resource. I’m always trying to pick his brain about different things we can do to improve. He comes into my classroom and we’ll write plays up.”
“He calls her on the phone, and they’ll be working on plays,” said Casey of the relationship between her coach and her father. “They’re really close and they really work well together.”
The same description can also be used when it comes to both father and daughter.
“Every day he tells me how proud he is of me and how I’ve improved,” says Casey. “I really do appreciate it, because it’s been a lot of hard work but we’ve come a really long way.”
It has taken an entire team effort from the players, the coach staff, and the parents to bring Revere to the level they are currently at, and everyone shares in the pride of what they are doing for Revere.
“It’s awesome,” Malkus said. “I’m a Revere alum, so to come home and bring the team back, I believe in Revere and it’s so great. They’ve worked hard, I’ve worked hard, and it’s nice to be able to have the rewards now.”
“We’re really proud of our accomplishment and we’re really glad we’re leading the team to the best record we’ve had ever,” Casey said.
The accomplishment’s and pride that Nance, Malkus and the rest of the Revere girls basketball team have made and brought to the school and community to this point have been great, but the team isn’t done yet. With a victory Wednesday, Revere will win a league title for the first time in thirty years, and next weekend, they will begin their quest to bring Revere their first ever district title.
“It would be incredible especially for my senior year to go out with a big bang like that,” said Nance. “All five of our seniors would really appreciate it and I think it would a great note to leave the underclassmen with too.”