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Canton’s Rexford shows the way

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CANTON — If Canton girls basketball coach Michael Meyers ever gets frustrated because his team can’t understand instructions, he has at least one player on his team who can relate.

Senior point guard Emma Rexford is a coach herself, teaching kids how to figure skate in her free time.

“I understand how frustrating it is when it’s hard for someone to grasp something,” Rexford said. “I’ve been an actual coach just this year, but I’ve volunteered since the eighth grade. I love little kids, and they are so cute and they look up to you, and it makes me feel good at the end of the day to know you are someone’s role model.”

Just as the kids bring a smile to her face, Rexford’s leadership and ability on a basketball court makes Meyers smile.

She’s helped lead the Golden Bears to a 9-1 record this season, including a 7-1 mark in Northern Athletic Conference Central Division play.

Rexford ranks fourth in Section 10 girls basketball in scoring at 18.5 points per game. She also averages 5.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.6 steals.

“She’s such a hard worker,” Meyers said. “I think she leads through example. As much as she may not think it, or believe it, almost everyone here looks up to her. It’s been a pleasure to have her on the team the last four years.”

Rexford can disable opposing teams in many ways. She’s scored as many as 39 points in a game this year, but as few as eight. In both cases Canton won the game.

“She’s our absolute leader,” Meyers said. “I told her the other night that just because she doesn’t lead the team in scoring (in a game), doesn’t mean she’s not the best player on the floor. Everyone’s defense is going to be designed to stop Emma. She can play wherever. She’s had to guard people inside and done a nice job. She takes all the challenges and does her best.”

Rexford set an early tone for what to expect when she scored 32 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in Canton’s second game of the season. She’s gone over 30 three times this season but has noticed, especially the second time facing teams, that she’s seeing more defensive attention.

“(Opponents) have been doing box-and-one’s on me,” Rexford said. “I try to bring the ball upcourt more. If I can’t score, other people are scoring. It’s a pretty even scoring team I think.”

Many of the girls on Canton’s basketball team have already played in the state playoffs in soccer and softball, which should aid the squad as the bigger basketball games approach.

“Having that winning attitude is starting to trickle through to basketball,” Meyers said. “It helps if you know how to win ballgames and how to win tight games. It helps no matter what sport you are playing.”

Said Rexford, “We know how much pressure (state playoffs) are. We’re used to it. We’re not as pressured and more calm and collected.”

Rexford also is not afraid of challenges. Last spring she replaced the best pitcher in Canton softball history, Kacie Wentworth, and never gave it much of a thought.

“I don’t like to compare myself to others,” Rexford said. “I didn’t think people would compare me, because Kacie and I are completely different. I figured people would think, ‘OK, she’s pretty good. Kacie is obviously better, but she’s OK.’”

Basketball season is already nearing its conclusion and then there will only be one more sport before Rexford moves on from Canton.

She said she’s looking at Onondaga Community College, North Country Community College, St. Lawrence University and SUNY Canton.

“I would like to go to a two-year (college) over a four-year,” Rexford said. “I’m not positive what I want to do with my life. I don’t want to spend so much money.”

One thing Rexford is positive of is that she wants to continue coaching figure skaters while in college. She’s competed in the past in the event at the Winter Empire State Games.

“It’s really good pay,” Rexford said. “During college I’d like to find a club I could coach at, instead of having to get a job on campus.”

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