BELOIT- Just two years into her high school career, West Branch's Melinda Trimmer has made quite a name for herself on the basketball court.
Now she'll get to do it all again on an even bigger stage.
The junior point guard and 2013 Northeastern Buckeye Conference Player of the Year verbally committed to continue her basketball career at Youngstown State. Trimmer is following in the footsteps of her father, Earl, a 1994 graduate of YSU, as well as her brothers, Brock and Victor, both of whom are current students at YSU.
"My brothers are going to be able to watch me play," Trimmer said of why she chose the Penguins. "Ultimately, it was my decision and I loved it there, but going to school with my brothers again is definitely a factor."
Trimmer did not receive any other offers, but did look at attending Cleveland State or Gardner-Webb. Youngstown State was her top choice the whole time, though.
Her decision is an early one, made before she has even stepped on the court for her junior season. With so much time left at West Branch, Trimmer said that getting the commitment out of the way will allow her to focus more on the Warriors' upcoming season.
"I loved it there more than anything," Trimmer said. "It's nice to get the decision out of the way and focus on what I want to do with my team for the next two years. I won't have to worry about that so I can look forward to the future."
Opponents should be terrified that she could get even better after leading the Warriors in scoring and assists each of her first two seasons.
As a sophomore, Trimmer led West Branch in scoring (16.4), assists (6.2), steals (2.4) and free throw percentage (79.2). She also shot 43 percent from three-point range and, as West Branch coach Walt DeShields will be quick to mention, set a school record with 188 assists.
"She loves to have the ball in her hands," DeShields said, "But the unselfish part is that she led our team in assists both her freshman and sophomore years. That's really big for a point guard. She's a leader on the team. The other girls know that when they're open she'll get them the ball."
DeShields and West Branch have enjoyed a renaissance in its girls basketball program since Trimmer arrived. The Warriors have gone 44-6 in the past two years, including a pair of trips to the district championship. Last season, West Branch grabbed a share of the NBC title since 2005.
For Trimmer, however, the Warriors are just getting started.
"I see us working really hard this season," Trimmer said. "We've had some heartbreaking losses the past two years. I know we're going to make a push this year, so I'm expecting a lot out of this team."
In her freshman year, Trimmer averaged 10.5 points and 6.7 assists a game, both team highs, as the Warriors finished 21-3. To step us as one of the team's leaders as a freshman, Trimmer said, was an experience she could not have managed alone.
"My teammates accepted me," Trimmer said. "I couldn't have stepped into that position without my teammates and coaches' help. At first, I was nervous, but with my team giving me confidence, I felt like I fit right in and I just took on that role."
Last season, the Warriors finished 23-3 overall, including a 12-2 record in the NBC. However, West Branch's season ended the same place it had in 2012 - a district final loss to Canfield. With two more seasons remaining at West Branch, Trimmer knows there is time for improvement, both as an individual and as a team.
"I want to get better, faster and stronger," Trimmer said. "If I can keep doing that, I know I can help out my team. I want to help out more for when college starts."
Trimmer's basketball honors include being named first-team Northeast Ohio Inland District and All-Ohio Division II special mention last season.
In 2008, Trimmer finished fourth in the nation at the Elks National Hoop Shoot free throw competition in Springfield, Mass, after winning the Great Lakes regional and Ohio state competitions.
Trimmer intends to study biology and pre-med at YSU to pursue a career as a dentist and orthodontist.