PREPS Spartans honor Amber Bland
The school officially retired her No. 44 jersey at a ceremony Monday.
BOARDMAN -- Just a year ago Amber Bland was leading the Boardman High girls basketball team to another outstanding season.
Monday night she was back on the Spartans' home court, this time to take part in a ceremony that retired her No. 44 jersey, the first-ever jersey retired by the school in any sport.
Bland, who is now a freshman at Penn State University, was a standout for four seasons for coach Ron Moschella and the Spartans.
She was selected All-Ohio three straight years and twice was named player of the year. She finished with a school career record of 2,190 points and last year set a single-game school mark of 52 points.
"This is so great," said Bland after the ceremony. "Just being back here and out on that floor brought back a lot of memories.
"It was really special here tonight, with all these great fans and all my old teammates," she added.
And just what does she remember most about her career with the Spartans?
"All the rivalries, Coach Moschella yelling and the great fans, those are the things I remember most," she said. "I really don't have a most memorable one," she added. "Everything about my time here was great."
Now she's playing in the Big Ten with the Nittany Lions.
"It is really working out pretty good for me," she added. "I think that all the defense that Coach Moschella stressed to me over the years is really paying off in college."
Bland said that the biggest difference between college and high school is managing her time.
"The speed of the game is so much different also."
Does she ever see herself being a standout at Penn State like she was at Boardman?
"Maybe somewhere down the line," she said. "It's a lot tougher playing in college."
Moschella said that it meant so much to him to have Bland return for the ceremony.
"It meant a lot to the team to have her back," he said. "It was really a great night, honoring our seniors, retiring Amber's jersey, the great game. The only downside was that we didn't win."