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Posted March 23, 2012 | Leave a comment
Millbrook's Green completes dazzling career as champion
By Tommy Keeler Jr. - email@example.com
WINCHESTER -- Courtni Green can do it all on the court. She can score with a pull-up jumper, or blow by a defender and get to the rim, or drain a 3-pointer. She can also score on a rebound off a missed shot.
The numbers show how much and easily she can score. She scored 2,626 points in her four years with the Pioneers, third all-time in Virginia High School League history.
However, what brings a smile to her face even more than scoring is making an assist and watching her teammates score.
"Personally, I know that I can score, and everybody knows that I can score and have all these points," Green said. "But it means more when I see somebody on my team that doesn't get to score as much as me, like me handing them the ball so they can score. That just means so much more to me than me actually scoring.
"I like seeing the smile on their faces when they score and have like 10 points or something."
Green, the Northern Virginia Daily's 2011-12 Girls Basketball Player of the Year, averaged 4.0 assists per game, to go along with her 29.5 points per game.
The 5-foot-7 senior has had a stellar career, but she saved her best for last. She averaged 8.6 rebounds and 6.8 steals per game. She also shot 57.3 percent (317-for-553) from the field. She finished in the top three in the area in every category, but one -- she finished sixth in rebounding.
Millbrook coach Debby Sanders said due to her tremendous work ethic, Green improved her game every season.
"I've been watching her since sixth grade and every single year I've seen improvement," Sanders said. "And every year come August as soon as we hit fall league, I look at her and I think, 'Wow,' and I'm thinking, 'What's going to improve this year?'"
Green had the most difficult and satisfying offseason of her career this past summer. Playing for the Fairfax Stars Amateur Athletic Union team, Green spent more time on the road than in Winchester.
The Stars had a very successful season, knocking off the top AAU team in the country, DFW Elite, along their journey. DFW Elite had two players ranked in ESPN HoopGurlz's top 15 rankings and six in the top 100.
The two teams met again in what was considered by many to be a national championship game, and even though the Stars lost, Green led both teams in scoring. To make the situation more stressful, Green and her teammates were playing in front of many of the top college coaches in the country. However, Green said she has gotten used to playing in front of college coaches and it doesn't bother her.
"It just makes you want to prove yourself because you're going up against the best competition," Green said of the AAU experience. "So that's your chance to prove yourself to all the scouts, people who are writing about you. It's just a chance to prove that you're one of the top players also in the country."
Green proved herself enough that she had plenty of options for college and she chose the University of Delaware.
Once the high school season rolled around, she was more than ready to lead the Pioneers to a third consecutive state title. Millbrook set a record by winning 80 straight games and becoming the first VHSL team to win three consecutive state titles. Green was one of seven seniors on the team.
"It was definitely special because it is our last year ever playing with each other," Green said. "We made a lot of memories. I think this year we got closer than we were. We've always been close, but I think since we knew that next year we were going to be off doing our own thing, I think we tried to create bonds with one another instead of like the whole team."
Green said playing in a holiday tournament in Hollidaysburg (Pa.) really helped the team for the rest of the season. In the final against Hollidaysburg, the Pioneers had their toughest game of the season, pulling out a 58-55 win.
From there the Pioneers crushed opponent after opponent until meeting Courtland in the state final. The Cougars challenged them for a while, but the Pioneers still pulled away for a 63-38 win and yet another state title.
Green has played with most of her Millbrook teammates since she was in sixth grade, and said they made many memories along the way that she'll never forget.
It's also part of the reason she's quick to point out her teammates when asked about finishing third all-time on the VHSL scoring list.
"It's a cool accomplishment, but I definitely couldn't have done it without my teammates, Green said. "They pass me the ball. It's really cool, and I wish that my teammates could be recognized also, because they're the ones that gave me the ball."
Green said she's learned a lot and had so many great experiences that she will be able to take with her to Delaware.
"I think what I've learned from the Millbrook team is to be a leader," Green said. "I know sometimes I can be a quiet leader rather than an outspoken leader. But I've learned to lead and take control. I think that's something I'll carry on to college, whether I'm a freshman or a senior."
Sanders said there wasn't a game that went by when she and her coaching staff weren't simply amazed by what Green did on the court. What might be even more amazing is that Green's game will get even better playing for Delaware, which finished the regular season ranked eighth in the country. The Blue Hens also have one of the top players in the country -- junior Elena Delle Donne.
"I just believe she's going to be able to walk in there and do amazing things," Sanders said. "She's playing with Elena Delle Done and teams are going to have to give her so much attention, I think Courtni's going to have to have a nice freshman year."
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