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Myka Aldrich of Ottawa-Glandorf had a kickin' time this weekend, both in California and at Classic in the Country

The senior arrived in time for Ottawa-Glandorf's game against Smithville after being honored as a soccer All-American

BERLIN, Ohio -  Late in the first quarter of Ottawa-Glandorf's 35-25 win over Smithville at the Classic in the Country on Sunday, senior Myka Aldrich was called for a foul when she raised her foot towards the ball on a rebound and ended up kicking her opponent.

It would be easy to see how the 5-foot-9 Aldrich forgot she was playing basketball and not another sport, as she had spent the first part of her weekend in Anaheim, California being honored as a high school soccer All-American.

"I do like to kick the ball a lot," Aldrich joked.

It wasn't known earlier in the week if the Titans would have the services of Aldrich due to the trip to California for her soccer honor. But thanks to a red-eye flight to Detroit and a more than 3-hour drive, she was able to make it to Berlin in time to jump on a bus with her teammates to make the trip to the Reese Center for the game.

"We had a 10pm flight last night and got back into Detroit, I think it was like four or five in the morning and drove straight here," Aldrich said. "When I got to the hotel, we got on the bus and got ready for the game. So it's been crazy, but I think the adrenaline and the excitement of playing with my team is just getting me through it."

The trip to the Classic in the Country almost derailed her trip to California because she was worried about asking her head coach for the weekend off after the team had already had such little time together after the girls soccer team that features several of the basketball players made the state championship game.

"When she got notice about a month ago that she was gonna be going out and having that opportunity, she was very nervous about asking," Ottawa-Glandorf head coach Troy Yant said. "I have two seniors on the team, you know. So for her to take a weekend off and possibly miss this game, she was a little nervous about asking for permission.

But her head coach knew ahead of time and had a little fun with it.

"I knew when it was announced that she was going to eventually be coming to me so I made a little hard on her," Yant joked. "Ultimately, we were gonna give her the permission to go and fortunately, her parents were able to orchestrate it."

When asked about that moment, Aldrich smiled.

"He likes to give us a tough time, but it's all with love," Aldrich said.

But once she got back to the team, it was like she never left. She averages five points and four rebounds per game but also gives great defensive effort and does all of the little things her teams needs in order to win and she has been a big part of why the Titans are now 13-1. On Sunday, she had three rebounds and five steals.

"She does all the little things to help us out, and I think she really enjoys doing what maybe aren't the celebrated things," Yant said. "I though she played a whale of a defensive game today and without her, I think we have a different outcome, to be honest."

The important thing is that not only does her coach understand what Aldrich's role is, but so does the player. After scoring 23 goals this past season in soccer, she knows her number one job in basketball is not to score.

"I'm definitely obviously not out there for like my offensive skill or anything like that," Aldrich said with a laugh. "I'm just there for defense, I'm there to be a team leader,  pick up the younger girls when they need it. I'm one of the only seniors on the team so I have experience and I'm just more there as a leader to keep us all together."

Being a team leader was one of the reasons Aldrich was worried about missing the trip to the Classic in the Country, as she didn't want to lose out on the time with her teammates. But in the end, she gets to enjoy both.

"I knew that this was gonna be a big team bonding thing for us," Aldrich said. I was nervous about missing it. So that's why it was important for me to come back when I could and I think we're staying another night so I'll still get it's best of both worlds for me. So I'm excited."


-- Ryan Isley | | @sbliveoh