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Howland’s Price named girls player of the year

Tribune Chronicle / John Vargo
Champion’s Lucas Nasonti, left, and Howland’s Sara Price, right, were named the Trumbull County Coaches Association’s boys and girls players of the year on Monday at Leo’s Ristorante.

Tribune Chronicle / John Vargo Champion’s Lucas Nasonti, left, and Howland’s Sara Price, right, were named the Trumbull County Coaches Association’s boys and girls players of the year on Monday at Leo’s Ristorante.

HOWLAND — John Diehl knew there was something special about Sara Price’s basketball game.

He saw her promise in middle school.

Price, a 6-foot-1 senior guard/forward, exuded that effort throughout high school, and it made her Northeast Inland District Player of the Year the past two seasons. She’s been the face of the Tigers girls basketball program and is heading to Ball State University next season.

Before Price travels to Muncie, Ind., she’ll look back on her biggest honor to date — the Trumbull County Coaches Association girls basketball player of the year. Price picked up the wooden base with a golden basketball attached atop the award Monday at the 30th annual Trumbull County Basketball Banquet at Leo’s Ristorante.

Price, who averaged 21 points, eight rebounds, 2.2 assists and 2.1 steals as a senior, is the eighth Howland player to receive the award and seventh under current Tigers coach John Diehl.

Bristol’s Jeff Kassan won the honor while Diehl coached the Panthers in the early-to-mid 1990s. Taylor Williams last won it for Howland in 2012.

“This is something I can go back when I have summer camp and say hey, ‘You can win this award if you work hard,’ “ Diehl said. “I can pick out the things that I think can win it when they get to this age. Sara could (do them) in the seventh, eighth grade. It takes a lot of work to win it.”

This TCCA title goes next to her 1,000-point basketball and the net she cut down when Howland won the All-American Conference, Red Tier Championship.

“Every time I look at it, I’m reminiscing in the past,” Price said of the TCCA trophy. “It’s amazing. It’s a huge, beautiful trophy. The fact that I have it, I can’t even put words to it. It’s such an awesome feeling.”

Diehl already knew Price was a special player before high school. She took the next step by improving her game her freshman season — learning to shoot.

“It’s the smoothness of her shot,” Diehl said. “She shot real low when she was little. She was coachable because she brought her shot up and got it above her head.

“The one thing too, that kids are coachable.”

Price knows this TCCA honor doesn’t solely define her legacy and future at Ball State, but it’s nice to have.

She listened to Monday’s guest speaker, University of Akron associate women’s basketball coach Melissa Jackson. Jackson spoke of the hard work she had to do to get through college and in her coaching career.

“Girls from college have these huge honors,” Price said. “They don’t know the amount of work they have to put in. I put a lot of work into it. I’m ready for it. It’s a job in college.

“Having this under my belt is a dream come true.”

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