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February 15, 2013

Girls hoops coach cultivates winning atmosphere at Eastern

Greentown — On a Wednesday in the summer of 2008, Jeremy Dexter rolled into Greentown for the first time.

The Lafayette native interviewed for the Eastern girls basketball head coaching position that day and received an offer the next. He met with the superintendent on Friday and got married on Saturday.

That Monday, a trio of girls – Mercedes Rubow and Brittany and Bethany Neeley – caught the Purdue grad’s attention while he was scouting his future players during Carver Summer league action.

“I remember the Neeleys and Mercedes were going into eighth grade and they were up playing with the high school kids at Carver,” Dexter said. “You could see that we had athletes who were going to be coming up that were going to be willing to work extremely hard for us to reach the goals that we wanted to achieve from day one.”

Four and a half years later, the landscape of Lady Comets basketball is vastly changed and hopes are at an all-time high, with good reason.

After a 7-13 rookie campaign led to Eastern’s fourth straight losing season, Dexter has compiled a 65-21 record in the four years since the Neeley sisters and Rubow stepped on the scene.

“We’ve gotten better every single year,” said Brittany Neeley. “You look at it record-wise and it’s gone up each year. It’s always been a goal to get better each year.”

Eastern went 14-8 in the 2009-10 season, 15-5 in 2010-11 and 17-5 in 2011-12. The Neeleys were critical components in the Comets rise.

Starters since their freshmen year, both Neeley sisters passed 1,000 career points this season. Brittany has 1,233 career points and leads the Comets in scoring at 17.7 points per game. Bethany has 1,022 career points and averages a double-double of 15.3 ppg and 11.5 rebounds per contest.

“I would say that, specifically, this senior class has been thorough a lot and helped Eastern girls’ sports in general and shed such an amazing light on Eastern in a positive way from a coach’s perspective,” Dexter said. “These seniors have a lot to do with this success. We owe them a lot for the time they’ve put in and the effort they’ve put forth.”

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