PREP BASKETBALL: ‘We came together as a family’: Cold Springs’ Maci Brown recaps junior season

Cold Springs’ Maci Brown. (Nick Griffin/The Cullman Tribune)

BREMEN, Ala. — The 2022-2023 basketball season was another special one for the Cold Springs Lady Eagles. They finished with a 31-3 record, an area championship a 2A Central Regional Championship and advanced it all the way to the 2A State Finals. Junior Maci Brown earned MVP honors at the Central Regional tournament and talked about the amazing season she went through with her Lady Eagle teammates.

“Playing in Birmingham in the Final Four has always been a dream of mine. To be down there playing not only in the Final Four, but also playing in the state championship game my first year at Cold Springs was a feeling like no other. We came together as a family. Each of us used our special skills to make our team complete and successful. Being led by an experienced coach was a key part in our success,” Brown said. “When you get to Birmingham, only the best of the best teams in the state remain. You have to bring your best game each time you step onto the floor. Every single game and practice we had leading to playing in Birmingham helped prepare us for the challenges we would face.”

She added,

 “The physicality in those games did not compare to the physicality we had faced all year. Being physical was something we all learned we had to have to be successful. It is something we will have to work on during the off-season and all games leading to the postseason.”

Maci played with a very special group of girls last season and talked about her experience in her first year as a Lady Eagle.

“This team was definitely something special. Not everyone gets to be on a team that’s a family. We all held each other to high standards and held each other accountable. They always put the team first. They showed selflessness all year long. That is definitely something this team taught me,” Brown said. “One thing I have learned in my time at Cold Springs is how to be a leader. I don’t mean by most points scored, most rebounds, or any of the things you see in a stat book. I mean by how I carry myself, how I hustle, how I learn from the coaches, how I respond to things. The importance of leadership is huge. We can all choose to be leaders and when we do, we will see how many people jump on board. It’s really about buying into the program.”

Maci took away so much from playing for head coach Tammy West and will work on some things in the off-season to get ready for next season.

“Playing for coach West is special. She creates a bond with each of us like we are her children. She pushes us to be the best we can be, and she doesn’t let us fall short of that. She had us prepared every time we stepped on the floor,” Brown said. “Something I have learned from her is that when you do something you love, it isn’t going to feel like a burden. She has helped me grow my confidence in myself. Coach West has led by example to buying into this program, which leads us to success.”

She added,

“I plan to work on getting stronger, faster, and more physical. I have to work on getting to the goal, drawing fouls, and finishing through contact. I also need to be more consistent with my outside shot.”

Maci talked about the goals she has for herself and for the team, which pretty much remained the same as last season. She also talked about what makes this team so special to watch, plus what it will take to get back to state and in the championship game.

“For myself, I want to be a leader for my team. I hope to improve my shooting percentage. As a team, we have a lot of the same goals as this year, but we expect to finish the job. We would like to win area, regionals, and of course, state. It is something we have all dreamed of since we were young,” she said. “This team is so special to watch because we do not care who gets the credit for the win. It isn’t about who the leading scorer is; it is about winning as a team. Having a team that is so selfless is special, and it will take you far just as it did this year. For us to go back to state next year, we will have to work. We will have to work on our game individually and as a whole. As coach West has told us, we each have a puzzle piece we have to put together to make the puzzle whole. All of us have to work on our game and give that to the team so we can see success as we did this past season.”

Maci talked about the role models that she looked up to and the best advice that she has ever given.

“Some of my role models growing up and now, basketball-wise, are A.K. Eastman (Cullman), Bellah Machen (Mortimer Jordan) and Kelly Pickett (Hanceville). They each show leadership on and off the court. They have all helped me better my game,” she said. “One piece of advice that has stuck with me is always believe in yourself and the talents God has given you.”

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