When looking for help this offseason, Bristol girls basketball coach John King found a former player of his that he was hoping to work with again.
A Lordstown alumna and recent star at Youngstown State, Sarah Cash joined the fray and has been an invaluable asset to the Panthers.
“She’s a great asset, anyone with college experience (would be),” King said. “I got the privilege of coaching her as a JV coach at Lordstown before I came over to Bristol. I coached her in AAU since she was in seventh grade all the way till she graduated, so I have a good relationship with her. Her family are great people. She’s very, very quiet; she’s not going to say very much. We’re the same way, but she’s a tremendous asset.”
Cash, the former Penguin, is now a member of the Bristol staff and according to her, it’s been a long time coming.
“I always said in high school that I wanted to coach with Coach King,” she said. “He was my coach in AAU, so I’ve always looked up to him. I thought this would be a good opportunity to come in and get some experience. And I knew the team was going to be good this year, so that was a plus.”
The Panthers have multiple taller players on the roster, so getting a coach with plenty of experience in the post has worked wonders.
“I just tried to help them a lot at practice with post moves and sealing and that kind of stuff, because that’s what I did during college,” Cash said. “I just try to help them wherever I can.”
While primarily working with the underclassmen and getting them up to speed, Cash has had an impact on some of the upperclassmen as well.
Senior Belle Zirzow, who recently became the all-time leading scorer for Bristol, is one of those players.
Both are soft-spoken players who like their game to do all the talking. This season Zirzow has hit another level, averaging a double-double with 23.2 points per game and 10 rebounds.
“She’s been really important,” Zirzow said. “She helps me a lot in the post, and she’s quiet but she’s always saying little things to help us and she always watches film for us to help us out. She’s just a great coach.”
Being with Bristol this year allowed Cash to win a district title, something she was unable to do in high school. The smile on her face postgame said it all.
“It feels great,” Cash said. “Finally got the gold. I never won districts in high school, so to come here and help them win is great.”
At YSU, Cash was one of the only Penguins to be named All-Horizon League multiple times and finished her career as the all-time leader in games played (135) and field goal percentage (.570). She finished her career ranking 11th in points, ninth in field goals made, sixth in free throws made, 13th in rebounds and fifth in blocks.
In addition to everything she achieved at the college level, Cash racked up a long list of accolades in high school.
She finished her career as Lordstown’s all-time leading scorer with 1,774 points and rebounder with 1,294 rebounds and was named third-team all-state her senior year as well.
Having had success at both levels, Cash brings a unique perspective to the floor. As cliche as it sounds, repetition and the little things are crucial to long-term success.
“Just make sure you keep doing the little things,” she said. “It doesn’t matter how dumb you think it is because even in college, you’re doing little things every day to make sure that you’re better and you can keep winning games.”
King, Cash, Zirzow and the Panthers play their regional semifinal contest tonight at Massillon Perry High School, where they’ll face Dalton. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m.