The girls’ basketball season has been quite interesting during this pandemic season. I have not been able to attend any games this year because of preexisting health conditions, but I have been able to notice a few things from afar.
In this week’s column I’m recognizing four coaches who have influenced the high school basketball scene and had their teams seeded among the top five in Section 4AAAA competition. They are:
Willie Taylor (Stillwater, No. 1)
Taylor is a Hall-of-Fame coach who will go down as one of the best in state history. He has led the Ponies to their only state tournament appearances in school history in 2019 and 2020.
He led St. Paul Central to state titles in 2007 and 2008. Early in his career Taylor, who starred in basketball at Duluth Central in the late 1970s, was an assistant coach at Harding and head coach at Mounds View.
Ashley Ellis-Milan (East Ridge, No. 2)
Ellis-Milan was an outstanding player at St. Paul Central and the University of Minnesota. She led Central to a state tournament appearance as a player in 2005 and went on to have an outstanding collegiate career with the Gophers.
This is her first head coaching job after stints as an assistant with Minneapolis South and DeLaSalle.
Crystal Flint (Cretin-Derham Hall, No. 4)
Flint first came onto the Minnesota basketball season in 1989 as a University of Minnesota girls’ basketball recruit from Boston, MA.In 1994 she led the Gophers to their first-ever NCAA tournament victory with a win over Notre Dame.
She officiated girls’ basketball and coached at Minneapolis North before coming to lead the Raiders in 2018. Flint also runs the Triple Threat Girls Basketball Clinic.
Marlon McCoy (St. Paul Central, No. 5)
McCoy was one of the state’s best top boys’ basketball players in 1994 after leading St. Agnes to the Class A state championship and being selected a finalist for Mr. Basketball. He was an assistant boys’ basketball coach at St. Paul Central and Tartan.
McCoy has four siblings who have participated in the boys’ state tournament as players. Brothers Charles Pattain (Mechanic Arts, 1975), Kevin Pattain (St. Paul Central, 1979), Derrell Pattain (St. Paul Central, 1982), and Terrell Pattain (St. Paul Central, 1982) all participated in the big dance.