By Dom DiPasqua/Staff Writer

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Independence Day!

BRECKSVILLE -  Midpark has named a replacement for Stephanie Mentz who has moved on to Notre Dame College. For the past 60 days those close to the Southwestern Conference and girls basketball in general have been waiting and wondering who will be the Lady Meteors next head coach. The speculation has ended.

Tom Thompson, a Berea resident, will succeed Mentz as head girls basketball coach at Midpark High School. Thompson was an assistant mens basketball coach at Baldwin-Wallace University the past two years. Prior to that he had been the head boys coach at Rocky River and way back when he was the hoop boss at Strongsville.

Although this is Thompson’s first time as head coach of a girls program that won’t be an issue. Thompson’s two daughters, Megan and Jenny, grew up in the gym, tagging along watching his teams play as youngsters and then both had solid careers as players at Berea High School.

Berea and Midpark high schools will merge next summer and become the Berea-Midpark Titans. Kevin Braaten was named head coach at Berea less than a month ago. It is not certain whom will be the head coach when the schools combine at the end of the 2012-’13 school year. That matters little today.

“I am excited to be at Midpark. I have spent a few days with the girls, getting to know them and watching them play, Thompson said via email this morning. “I like their attitude and energy and look forward to coaching them next season.”

The Meteors are coming of a 21-3 campaign. Along the way they captured their third straight SWC championship and second consecutive district title. Midpark lost to two-time state Division I champion Twinsburg Chamberlin in a regional semi-final game this past March.

About a month later Mentz announced her resignation after six seasons as head coach and seven total on Paula Drive.  Her teams went 41-1 in league play over the past three winters, their only conference loss in that span coming at perennial runners-up Westlake.

Midpark graduated three starters from last years team, including 6-0 point guard Rachel Theriot who is headed to the University of Nebraska. The Meteors return 5-9 senior Korie “The Pink Panther” Maryo and 6-3 junior forward Stasha Carey. Carey was a first team All-SWC performer last season. Maryo was a second team member. Carey will be the odds on favorite for the loops most valuable player award coming into this season.

Thompson knows very well what he has on hand in The Galaxy. “I’m not going to fix something that is not broken, but will only tweak a few things along the way,” said Thompson. “I am anxious for the upcoming season.”

See You At The Bee Hive!

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