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HCC athletic complex now house of Payne

April 24, 2008|By Bob Parasiliti

For Miranda Payne, yesterday's news became today's headline.

Little did the Cumberland Valley Christian School standout realize that a story about her in a local newspaper would launch her post-scholastic basketball career.

"I read a story about Miranda in the paper and asked my assistant coach, Bernie Semler, if he had heard about this scoring leader," said Marlys Palmer, the Hagerstown Community College women's basketball coach. "He went to see her and couldn't stop talking about her when she came back. So our pursuit of Miranda Payne began and I'm pleased this day has come."

Payne became the latest local headliner to sign with HCC on Wednesday when she inked her letter-of-intent in a small ceremony in the school conference room.

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Payne comes from the small Christian school in Chambersburg, Pa., with a huge array of talent that Palmer said will help improve a Hawks team which has flirted with championships the last few years.

For Payne, the signing was just some peace of mind from a process she didn't even consider until her story was told.

"At mid-year, I wasn't even thinking about it at all," said Payne, a four-year player for CVCS. "The first I thought of it was when (HCC) came to see me play and, from then, I started talking to them. Now I can relax a little. There are some players out there who are still looking to sign with a college."

Payne scored 2,446 points at CVCS and was selected to The Herald-Mail's All-Area First Team three times. She averaged 25 points as a sophomore and junior, but fell off to a 19.7 average as a senior with a rise in her assist output to go along with an ability to rebound and steal the ball.

"I like to win and I try to do whatever I need to to win," Payne said. "I relied on my teammates more this year. It was fun."

It's the brand of fun Palmer admits she would like to get in on.

"We are losing four players from this year and needed scoring and a point guard," Palmer said of this year's 25-5 team. "Her ball-handling is the first thing. We have not seen a player who has her skills: Working the ball and passing right-handed and left-handed and has such vision to see the court. We hope she can start off next year and we won't miss a beat. She will make the players around her better."

The addition of Payne allows Palmer to take the burden of multiple positions off the shoulders of players like Cara Thompson, who played point, post and shooting guard at different times this season.

"I'm glad that I'm not expected to come in here and do it all," Payne said. "I hope to help this team here to a championship. I want to help the team and help myself become a better basketball player."

And that would even be more newsworthy to HCC in the future.

"We think she can take her opportunity here and take it to a four-year school," Palmer said. "She has the skill. If she commits to the opportunity, the sky's the limit. I hope that we will be here in two years to announce her signing to go to the next level."

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