Eastern's John Burdette is not only looking forward to his first time as a head coach in a benefit all-star game, but would also like to win it.
The third-year Eagle head girls basketball coach will guide the Ohio girls in their game versus West Virginia's girls contingent in the 10th annual renewal of the BACF Basketball Classic on Saturday at Parkersburg South's Rod Oldham Athletic Center.
Of course, said Burdette, ''you'd like to win, but I had a couple older coaches tell me there's two unwritten rules in an all-star game, that you don't press and you don't play zone (defense).''
''All that depends though,'' added Burdette, ''on how the other team's going. If you're in an all-star game, you're probably a pretty competitive kid. So I'm sure the girls want to win, and if you're a coach, you better want to win. Yea, I'd like to win, but the measures taken might not be great.''
Burdette has compiled an impressive 52-18 mark with Ohio Division IV district and regional runner-up finishes in his initial three seasons at the Eastern cage helm.
He will coach one of his seniors, 5-7 point guard Emeri Connery, in the BACF game to benefit research into developing a cure for cystic fibrosis, the most common as well as the No. 1 life-threatening genetic disease in the U.S., affecting over 30,000 people, most of whom will eventually die of lung disease.
''I obviously think this game is a good thing to do for charity,'' said Connery. Plus, she noted, ''it'll be fun to get to play with the other girls'' in what is probably her final basketball game. ''That part's weird to even think about, because it seems like it shouldn't be over yet. I've played basketball ever since I was in third grade, so it's been a big part of my life.''
Connery was both a first-team all-TVC and all-district selection as well as a special-mention all-state pick this season who nevertheless is headed to college this fall for track, possibly at Tiffin or Ohio University. ''Probably my best run is the 800, but I also run the 400 and do some hurdles as well,'' said Connery, who wants to study fashion merchandising and fashion design in college.
She will be joined on the BACF Ohio squad by Marietta's Maegan Grosel and Elizabeth Stoll, Belpre's Kelsey Crislip, Fort Frye's Lacey Huck, Frontier's Heather Booth (the team captain) and Ashley Kimble, Alexander's Morgan Grinstead, Meigs' Morgan Howard, Shenandoah's Miranda Redden, River Valley's Brooke Marcum, River's Alexa Isaly, Ironton's Alex Taylor and Cambridge's Abby Wetherell.