A cost-cutting decision by Toledo Public Schools to close the doors at Libbey High School left one of the state's top girls basketball players looking for a new home court.
Macketta Allen was a three-year standout at Libbey who had already scored more than 1,000 points heading into her senior year.
Locking the doors at Libbey left Allen spending much of last summer contemplating what school she would attend for her senior year. The 5-foot-8 guard, who averaged 20 points and 7.6 rebounds as a junior, eventually decided on Scott.
And despite the change, Allen's focus hasn't waned from previous years.
"My goals have not changed," she said. "It's to finish out my senior year as strong as I can."
The move has required making some adjustments along the way. After three years of competing against City League opponents, she had never imagined wearing the uniform of one of her rivals. She'd never imagined trading in her Cowboys gear for Bulldogs attire.
Yet, the decision to attend Scott made the most sense considering Allen was quite familiar with Bulldogs coach Darrell Dorn. She'd played on Dorn's AAU basketball team during the summer months.
"It was kind of a tough decision, but then I thought about it, I decided I would stay with my AAU coach and with my friends," said Allen, who was a Division II all-district first-team selection last season.
JEREMY WADSWORTH / THE BLADE Enlarge | Buy This Image
Obviously, Dorn was quite pleased with Allen's decision to choose Scott over a few other possibilities, including Waite, Bowsher, and Rogers.
"She's just a very tremendous player," Dorn said. "I talked to her recently about how she's still not reached her full potential."
It's not been just Allen's skill set that impresses Dorn.
"She's a coach's dream because she has the desire to get better," he said. "She's already scored a thousand points and she's coachable and she's a respectable kid."
Playing for Dorn and alongside a couple of former Libbey teammate, including 5-foot-7 guard Essence Jones, helped create some normalcy with becoming a Bulldog.
"It's actually been better than what people think it might be like," said Allen of playing for a different school. "Coach Dorn was my AAU coach, so I know his coaching style and I know what coach expects."
Dorn is also in a year of change. He's is in his first season back at Scott after three years coaching at Woodward. He previously coached the Bulldogs in the 2004-05 season.
Dorn is counting on Allen to come right in and make an instant impact.
His plan is to have Allen utilize her playing abilities in a way that helps the Bulldogs improve upon last season's effort, which resulted in a 9-11 overall record, 5-6 in CL play.
Allen is averaging 20.5 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 3.1 assists this year.
"Being at Libbey, she had to do a lot, but now she has a supporting cast," Dorn said. "I think early in the season I felt she was trying to overdo too much. She doesn't have to take the whole team on her back.
"I basically want her to do what she does best and we know that's score. I also want her to match her intensity on defense that she plays with on offense."
Putting the basketball through the hoop has not been much of an issue during Allen's high school career. She actually averaged slightly more (21 points per game) as a sophomore than she did as a junior.
Allen said her role at Scott requires more from her as a ballhandler and a playmaker than what she was asked to do at Libbey. She was more accustomed to receiving the ball on the wing and taking over more as a forward that is capable of shooting from the outside, as well as driving to the basket.
Allen believes she is improving and adjusting to her new role on her new team.
"I'm out to win at Scott like if I was playing at Libbey," she said, "but it's a little different now because I have to get used to playing the guard position.
"At Libbey, I didn't really have to bring the ball up the court and break the press. At Scott, I have to bring it up and call out plays and get the ball to an open player."
The Bulldogs (4-3, 1-3 CL) are a team that can be considered a work in progress. It's still early in a blending of a new coach with new players, including Allen and Jones, with Scott returners, including 5-8 senior Tiara Hague and 5-7 senior Kaharyn Scott.
The Bulldogs are remaining optimistic that their best basketball is still ahead of them this season.
"We're getting better every day and we're actually getting along better than some people thought we would," Allen said.
It's all a matter of reaching a decision.
Contact Donald Emmons at: email@example.com or 419-724-6302.