In the pantheon of standout players who have come through McCaskey’s girls basketball program, Teasia Myers-Pena is on the short list of the Red Tornado’s all-time all-stars.
The 2008 grad finished her prep career with 1,229 points — No. 4 in program history — before shuffling off to play hoops at Utica College in New York.
Sadly, Myers-Pena suffered a torn ACL in her freshman season, and her playing days were over. But her head-coaching days are just beginning: Earlier this month, the former McCaskey play-maker and go-to scorer signed on to become Lancaster Mennonite’s next girls coach.
Myers-Pena takes over for Trevor Orr, who guided Mennonite to a 47-24 record over the last three seasons, with a pair of section titles, two District 3 semifinal trips, and one appearance in the PIAA playoffs.
Myers-Pena previously served as an assistant under Orr for the Blazers, who went 10-0 in league play and won the L-L League Section 5 crown this past winter.
“After I got hurt and my knee didn’t go back to how it was, that was really tough for me,” Myers-Pena said. “But I decided right there that I wasn’t going to give up on basketball, and that I wanted to come back and help out. When I’d come home in the summer I’d shadow Coach (Brian) McCloud. I spoke to the girls; I was like a mentor to them. I knew then that I wanted to coach.”
Myers-Pena played under McCloud for four years at McCaskey, cracking his starting lineup as a ninth-grader. She got her feet wet by coaching in the AAU ranks, before landing a job as Bob Kauffman’s varsity assistant and JV coach at Linden Hall for a year. Then she landed at Mennonite, where Myers-Pena served as an assistant under Orr for a season.
Her latest stop was a two-year stint as head girls coach at Reynolds Middle School in the School District of Lancaster.
Now Myers-Pena, 31, has the keys to her own program.
“I’m very excited for this,” she said. “I’m nervous and I know there’s going to be a lot of hard work ahead. But I also know that I have a lot of passion for the game.”
Myers-Pena started spreading that passion to her group this summer. Her only hiccup: Mennonite is struggling a tad with numbers. This past season, the Blazers had just nine players — total — on the roster, and didn’t field a JV team.
Now that the program’s all-time leading scorer, all-state standout and 1,800-point scorer Mariah Wilson, is off to Towson University, just two full-time starters are due back in December in point guard Tiana Delgado (3.5 points, 7 3-pointers last season) and wing shooter Jayla Rivera (6.9, 21 3’s).
“We’re kind of starting fresh,” Myers-Pena said. “It might take one or two years to build this back up and get girls back in the gym. There’s definitely interest, so my goal is building up our numbers.”
Myers-Pena was quick to thank McCloud, former longtime McCaskey assistant Charlie Woods, former Linden Hall assistant Van Davis and her coach at Utica, Michele Davis, for putting her on the path to becoming a coach. In fact, Myers-Pena said she’s already implemented Utica’s off-season conditioning drills for her players this summer.
Another L-L League girls coaching vacancy was filled this week when another former McCaskey standout, Devonne Pinkard, took over at Lancaster Country Day. That leaves one coaching opening in the girls ranks, at Annville-Cleona.