After seeing spot varsity playing time as a freshman, Sarabeth Bean went on to do a lot of things very well in her three years as a starter for the Central High School girls basketball team.
The 5-foot-7 Bean scored nearly 1,000 career points, averaging over 10 points and over seven rebounds her senior year, when she was Central's second leading scorer behind senior classmate Lindsey Smith.
Bean shot 76 percent from the free throw line this past season, made nearly one in three shots she took from beyond the 3-point arc, and posted up as well in the paint as she shot from the outside.
Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski
Sarabeth Bean has been a part of the Central girls basketball team for her entire four-year career in the Cove.
It was no coincidence, then, that Bean - who will be a member of the Blair County team in tonight's seventh annual Altoona Mirror Basketball Classic at Mount Aloysius College in Cresson - earned recognition as the Central girls' most versatile player for the 2011-12 season.
"She did a lot of stuff for us,'' first-year Central coach Shelley McCune said of Bean. "She's kind of a do-it-all player. We could post her up when we needed to, have her take the point [guard] position if needed, and break the [opposing team's] press. She shot the ball well. If we needed her in a certain spot, we could always plug her in and she did what was needed.''
McCune had a first-hand opportunity to see Bean develop as a basketball player over the years. McCune was Bean's head basketball coach for one season at the junior high level, before stepping up to assist long-time Central head coach Vernon Neil on the varsity level for three years. McCune took over Central's head varsity coaching position prior to last season.
If you go
What: Altoona Mirror Basketball Classic featuring high school seniors from Blair County and Central PA
Where: Mount Aloysius College
When: Girls game at 6:30 p.m., boys game at 8. Doors open at 5:30.
Tickets: Adult tickets $5. Children 12-and-under $3.
Benefits: The Big John Riley Scholarship Fund
"She just continued to develop and progress,'' McCune said of Bean. "Each year, she made herself a better basketball player.''
Bean is grateful for the guidance shown to her by Neil and McCune over the past four years.
"When I came up my freshman year, I started playing for Coach Neil, and he was really positive,'' Bean said. "He obviously saw something in me to bring me up [to the varsity] my freshman year, and all my teammates welcomed me and encouraged me. I'm thankful to Coach Neil and Coach McCune for providing a lot of guidance, and grateful to my teammates for their support. They all made me the player I am today.''
Bean switched from the post to the wing this year, and worked well with senior teammate Kate Blattenberger, who will also play tonight in the Mirror Classic for the Blair County team against a Central Pennsylvania squad made up of seniors from around the region. Smith was picked for the Blair team, but suffered an ACL tear in Central's District 6-AA playoff loss to Richland in late February and will not participate in tonight's game.
"Kate Blattenberger was really strong inside, and I tried to get the ball in to her,'' Bean said. "When she wasn't open, she would do a good job of kicking the ball outside to me.''
Bean, who has also participated in tennis and track at Central, plans to further her education at Mount Aloysius College, where she will study to become a medical assistant. She is currently undecided as to whether she will further her basketball career there as well, but if tonight's game is her last, she said she will end her playing days with no misgivings.
"I'm glad I had the opportunity to play some my freshman year,'' she said. "I'm well-satisfied. I don't have any regrets.''