Scarpitti learns from Warrior great

West Branch senior Carly Scarpitti and 2015 West Branch graduate and Warrior assistant coach Melinda Trimmer talk during a practice on Monday at West Branch High School. (Photo by Chris Rambo)

BELOIT–Five years after leading West Branch to the state semifinals as an All-Ohio point guard, Melinda Trimmer is heading back to Columbus with the Warriors–this time as a first-year assistant coach.

“It’s a very different perspective as a coach, but a lot of the same feelings have been coming back these past few days,” Trimmer said. “I’m really trying to comfort the girls and hopefully use my experience to be able to give them some advice and calm their feelings a little bit because I know they’re going to be feeling a wide range of emotions.”

Trimmer was the Ohio Div. II co-player of the year as a senior in 2015 when the Warriors fell to Toledo Rogers in the state semifinals. After leaving West Branch as the program’s all-time leader in points and assists, she went on to a four-year career at Youngstown State.

Trimmer never really thought coaching was in her future, but after deciding to put off medical school for a year, she received an offer from DeShields to join the staff this season as an assistant.

“It was something that just kind of fell into my hands,” Trimmer said. “I didn’t really know what I was going to do for the year and when (Walt) DeShields reached out I decided to give it a try, I didn’t know how I was going to handle being away from the game.”

The season spent helping mentor girls who watched her play when they were in middle school has exceeded Trimmer’s expectations and left a lasting impression.

“The past year with this team, has been such a blessing, I’m so proud of what they’ve been able to accomplish,” Trimmer said. “I’m genuinely surprised at how much I love coaching. It’s something that I could now see myself doing in the future.”

Trimmer said her primary responsibilities have been to work with the guards in practice and act as an extra set of eyes on the bench during games.

“I just try and fit in wherever they need me,” Trimmer said. “As a player, you don’t think about too much other than just playing hard and listening to the coach. Now I get more of a birds-eye view and I just try to give the players any piece of advice I can. I try and remember that I was recently in their position and tell them things that I would like to know if I were still out there.”

Her relative proximity in age to the players has helped Trimmer be an effective communicator.

“She really knows how to relate to us because she is so young and just got finished playing,” West Branch senior point guard Carly Scarpitti said. “She’s really helped me with staying calm and in the moment on the floor.”

Trimmer said she recognizes a kindred spirit in Scarpitti.

“More than anything else, we share the same passion for the game,” Trimmer said. “When she wants something, she’s going to get it. During the regional final Friday night, she was the one in the huddle leading the team and urging everyone on. That’s kind of what I had, that passion where you never want to be done playing.”

With the current Warriors about to go through the same set of emotions she faced five years ago, Trimmer’s biggest piece of advice was to make sure they soak in every part of the experience.

“I remember being very excited and very nervous,” Trimmer said. “It goes by so fast. I hope they take a moment to look around, take everything in and embrace the atmosphere. It’s a dream come true to play in Columbus and they’re going to take this with them for the rest of their lives.”

“She said the nerves are definitely going to be there, but not to let them overtake you,” Scarpitti said. “She said to just stay calm and do what got us to this point. That’s what will hopefully help us win.”


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