Greenwood's Myers emerges on big stage

Mar. 18—Sophie Myers left Central Dauphin East High School in full uniform Saturday, long after Greenwood's state quarterfinal win.

No hoodie. No sweats.

It was as if the Wildcats' junior guard wanted to remain in the moment for as long as possible.

Who could blame her?

Myers has been on a remarkable tear during the state tournament, scoring at a rate beyond anything that could have been expected. She has hit double figures in all three state wins, posting an average of 12.7 points per game — more than triple her 4.2 clip over 26 previous games.

Not even Greenwood coach Jeff Deitz can pinpoint what clicked for Myers.

"Don't know, but I hope it stays there," he said.

Before the Wildcats' state opener on March 9, Myers may have been better known as "Sam's younger sister."

If he isn't already a Greenwood legend, it won't be long before folks come to revere Sam's three-sports prowess that included a league soccer MVP and complete-game victories in the last two of the school's record five consecutive District 3 Class A baseball championships. Sam, a 2023 graduate, and elder brother Luke (2019) both played on the Penn State-Harrisburg men's soccer team in the fall.

However, on March 9 in Bensalem, Sophie Myers began to make a name for herself. She scored a career-best 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting as the Wildcats nearly doubled-up District 1 champion Jenkintown, 40-21. She matched the combined points of Greenwood's other four starters in the Class A first-round victory.

"I was never really top on the (scoring leaders), so to see that and know that I could score and put up those points was a big confidence-boost for me," she said. "It was a fun experience, but it wasn't just me. It was the efforts of my teammates, as well.

"It's given me the confidence to shoot more, but it also keeps me humble to make sure I don't take that too far."

Until that point, Myers had only three double-digit scoring games in her three-year varsity career: 10 points once during her sophomore season, and 15- and 10-point games earlier this season.

She was firmly fourth in Greenwood's scoring this season behind senior forward Leah Ritzman (18.5 ppg.), junior guard Bekah Brinser (7.3) and senior forward Sophia Jezewski (6.0). In three state games, though, she scored five more points than any Wildcat on 54.5% shooting (12-of-22 overall; 6-of-11 from 3-point range).

"I don't think it's a night-and-day kind of thing. I think she's embraced the moment. That's what we've been talking to all the girls about doing is just embracing the moment," Deitz said. "I think Soph is realizing Soph's a good player, and I think she's confident in herself. She's not afraid to shoot right now."

That was never more evident than in Greenwood's last two games, when Myers drilled key 3-pointers to infuse her team with confidence.

Late in the second quarter of the Wildcats' second-round game, District 4 runner-up Meadowbrook Christian trailed 10-5 when all-state senior Kailey Devlin hit a left-wing 3 for her first bucket. Myers clipped any momentum the Lions may have generated when she answered with her own left-wing trey 30 seconds later. Then, right after Meadowbrook rallied for a 20-20 tie in the third, Myers dropped a long triple and immediately turned a steal into two free throws for a five-point lead.

Against once-beaten District 3 champion Linville Hill on Saturday, Myers made an extremely bold move for a step-back 3-pointer that put the Wildcats ahead to stay at the 4:31 mark of the first quarter. She finished with 10 points, adding a second-quarter 3 and later a third-quarter bucket off a Jezewski feed that put the Wildcats up 17.

"All throughout the season I was always encouraged by teammates and coaches and parents and fans — everyone — to keep shooting those 3s," Myers said. "Throughout the season I didn't knock down a ton, but into the postseason I've been knocking down more and more. I credit that to all the people who encouraged me to keep on shooting."

Myers connected on eight 3-pointers through the regular season and four district games, but she canned two in each of three state victories.

"It's so exciting. I love to see her open and get her the ball and let her shoot that 3," said Ritzman, who is second to Myers in state play at 11.0 ppg. "I don't think it matters at all who scores; it's about winning. We just want to win. But it is comforting to me because (opponents) aren't going to be able to put so many girls on me."

Myers has hiked her overall season scoring average to 5.1 ppg., while her rebounds and steals are also at career-highs. She also plays field hockey and jumps on the track and field team.

"At the beginning of the season, her words to me were, 'Coach, I've just got to play basketball,'" said Deitz. "I think that's what she's doing right now."

"I still take second thoughts about shooting it," Myers added, "but when I see it, I take it, and I still get encouraged by my teammates. So it feels really good, and makes me have the confidence to shoot more."