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Kielar to be an All-Star

Moving from New York to North Carolina would be hard for most rising seniors.
But when Alyson Kielar made the transition, she did what she’s so good at doing on the basketball floor—made an adjustment.
“I had to use some different vocabulary here in the south, but I’ve made some really great friends, so it worked out really well,” Kielar, who recently graduated, said.
Not only did her social life not skip a beat, but her game didn’t either.
For Kielar, who moved from Phoenix, New York (near Syracuse) to Denver last summer, first-year coach Deidrea Legrand was a god-send.
Herself a former star at East Lincoln High School and Belmont Abbey, Legrand passed along tips of the trade to her new center.
“She taught me a lot,” Kielar said. “She helped me with my outside shooting and she helped me solidify my post moves, because she had so much experience having played at Belmont Abbey.”
The six-foot center was a quick learner, averaging 15.6 points per game, 6.5 rebounds, two steals and two assists for the Mustangs.
In a year when East Lincoln had more losses than wins, Kielar was a pillar of consistency—missing double figures only twice.
“It was kind of hard because we were a new team altogether,” Kielar said. “We had a brand new team because a lot of people moved up from JV.
“For us, it was more of a personal achievement by the end of the season, to see how much we improved as opposed to how many games we won.”
While her dad David was responsible for introducing her to the game of basketball, it was Legrand who fine-tuned her game.
But don’t expect Legrand to tell you that.
“I told her to always work hard and things will fall into place,” Legrand said. “But I take no credit for her success, as she came to me a skilled player already.”
With encouragement from her parents and coach, Kielar signed a national letter of intent to play at Converse College next season.
Why Converse?
“As far as the team went, I was a lot more comfortable,” she said. “They play a fast-pace style of basketball and I really meshed well with the rest of the team.” Kielar was also recruited by Barton and Coker College.
The center, who may play power forward at Converse, knows the next level will be a challenge, but it’s a challenge she anxiously awaits.
“I definitely have a lot of improvement to do,” she said. “I’m still working on my outside shooting, which is something I got a lot more comfortable with this year and it’s just going to be a whole new experience.”
It’s really going to teach her a lot, working with new people who are more mature and more experienced, said Kielar.
Her former coach knows there are certain qualities the (Converse) All-Stars can expect.
“She is a hard-nosed player who refuses to give up” Legrand said “Alyson played and practiced through illness and injuries.”
Legrand added that there were times Kielar would get knocked around, but she never complained and kept playing.
Kielar, who was a Big South 3A All-Conference selection and team MVP, is thankful her dad introduced her to the game she now loves.
“He’s been my coach since I was in the fourth grade,” she said. “He coached me all the way up into high school.
“He taught me everything about the game,” she said. “The work ethic I should have, different post moves and showed me where I could go with the game.”
Legrand believes Kielar is reaping the harvest of plenty of practice and time spent on the basketball floor.
“Alyson’s hard work has paid off,” she said. “Being a first-year coach, I couldn’t have asked for a better player to have on my team.”
by John Mark Brooks

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