West Holmes High School varsity girls basketball coach Lisa Patterson is one week – and thousands of votes – away from being named America's best prep girls hoops coach by USA TODAY High School Sports.
With the help of all of Northeast Ohio high school sports fans, the hefty task can be accomplished. If the past two weeks are any indication, the residents of Holmes County and surrounding communities are more than up for the challenge.
Supporters of Patterson cast 78,386 votes for her in the first round of the USA TODAY High School Sports online contest to help her claim the title of Ohio's best coach.
Then, last week, Northeast Ohioans rallied together and registered 61,572 votes for the Millersburg coach in the contest's regional round.
As Region 4's top vote-getter, Patterson has advanced to the third – and final – round of the national contest. USA TODAY High School Sports will crown America's best high school girls hoops coach on March 12.
Along with earning the prestigious title of "America's Best Girls Basketball Coach," the winning coach will receive a $2,000 donation to his/her school's athletic department. Monetary prizes of lesser denominations will be presented to the athletic departments of other national finalists.
Patterson is competing against seven other regional winners and two wildcards. She'll need her fans to stuff the virtual ballot box in order for her and West Holmes to take home the top prize. Southeast's (Bradenton, Fla.,) John Harder, the second round's top vote-getter, received 195,199 votes.
Supporters of Patterson and others who would simply like to help a Northeast Ohio school gain national recognition can vote as often as they'd like during the contest period.
A 1988 graduate of West Holmes, Patterson has led her alma mater to back-to-back state title game appearances, and the Knights are currently in the midst of another tournament run.
For more Northeast Ohio high school sports news, scores, photos and videos, visit USATodayhss.com/Cleveland.