December 21, 2014

Elyria
Cloudy
30°F
test

Local legend takes over girls basketball at Lake Ridge

Lake Ridge Academy’s new girls basketball coach almost certainly had to introduce herself to her players.
She can skip the formalities with area high school sports fans.

Verhoff-Medvetz

Lisa Verhoff-Medvetz, a 2002 Elyria High grad, is well-known to that faction, especially after pulling off the rare double of being named Lorain County’s Miss Volleyball and Miss Basketball and then turning in a stellar college career as a guard for the Division I Indiana State Sycamores.

An assistant basketball coach at Notre Dame College under Dick Deasy the last five years, Verhoff-Medvetz will be coaching at the high school level for the first time.

That’s something that doesn’t concern Lake Ridge athletic director Debby Ghezzi in the slightest.

“Lisa had such a tremendous high school and collegiate playing career, I’m sure she can relate to our kids,” Ghezzi said. “She certainly understands what it takes to put the time in to be successful.”

Verhoff-Medvetz said she’s more than ready to run her own program and is elated to start her head coaching career at Lake Ridge.

“Debby Ghezzi reached out to me,” said Verhoff-Medvetz, who lives in Elyria with her husband, Steve Medvetz. “We always joke around about it. She kept calling me and calling me and saying, ‘Come check it out.’ I checked it out and it was a great fit.

“The community, the students, the faculty were all very welcoming. It’s a great atmosphere. The students there get a great education. I couldn’t ask for a better place to work.”

She will have work to do, that’s for sure.

The Lions are coming off two years of a postseason ban handed down by the Ohio High School Athletic Association in late February 2011 for recruiting violations in the girls basketball program and the violation of a bylaw governing administrative responsibility. They were also fined $2,500 and put on probation for five years.

On top of that, Verhoff-Medvetz is Lake Ridge’s third coach in the last three years. Keesha Allen, who led the team to an 18-4 record and a No. 9 ranking in the Division IV state poll before the OHSAA penalties came down, left after one season. Randy Thomas guided the Lions to a 9-6 record last season.

His job came open when Lake Ridge was able to add a full-time physical education position and decided the basketball coach should also be a teacher. Verhoff-Medvetz, who has a degree in exercise science and sports fitness, will teach PE classes for kindergarten through Grade 12.

“They definitely want stability,” Verhoff-Medvetz said. “I think that’s what they might have been searching for. I told the girls, ‘I’m not going anywhere. I plan to be here.’”

Ghezzi said the school is trying to put the OHSAA troubles in the past.

“We’ve served our time and we’re moving on,” she said. “It’s a new era.”

Ghezzi can only hope it’s as successful as Verhoff-Medvetz’s playing career.

Besides the Miss Basketball and Miss Volleyball awards, she was first-team All-Ohio in 2001 and ’02, the Northeast District Player of the Year and the Ohio High School Basketball Coaches Association’s Division I Player of the Year in 2002.

At Indiana State, she played on two Missouri Valley Conference championship teams (2003 and ’06) and is first in school history in 3-point field goal percentage (.440) and free throw shooting (.890) and second in school history in 3-pointers made (214). She made the MVC All-Freshman Team and was a three-time MVC scholar-athlete.

She was also a 1,000-point scorer in high school and college.

Ghezzi, however, likes something else about Verhoff-Medvetz just as much as her playing and coaching abilities.

“She’s enthusiastic and passionate about basketball,” Ghezzi said. “She’s fun to be around when it comes to basketball.”

Contact Kevin Aprile at 329-7135 or ctsports@chroniclet.com.