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IMG_7986BY JEFF FALK

Counselors agree that ‘keeping score’ could be a sign of dysfunction in a marriage. But in the Copelands’ union, ‘keeping score’ has a different meaning.

In all seriousness, keeping score at Palmyra girls’ basketball games has become a way of keeping the Copelands connected to the things, the people, the game they enjoy, and it also helps keep them young. Besides, if they weren’t attending Cougar games on Tuesday and Friday nights during the winter months, they’re not quite sure what they would be doing.

Grayce Copeland has been keeping ‘the book’ – keeping score – at Palmyra girls games for 24 seasons. Her long-time husband Mack has been keeping team and individual stats for the Cougars for almost as long.

Whether intentional or not, over the years, performing similar duties at scholastic hoops games has become an exercise in bonding for the Copelands. They are closer because they share the same passions, interests and pursuits.

“We’re able to discuss basketball probably at a higher level by virtue of what she does and what I do,” said Mack Copeland. “I’m a basketball junkie and I turned her into one. It makes it more enjoyable to live with someone who enjoys it as much as you do.

IMG_8011“Over the years, Palmyra has had great kids, great student-athletes, great families,” Mack Copeland added. “That just makes it even more enjoyable for Grayce and I.”

“Our kids always played basketball,” said Grayce Copeland of her and Mack’s three sons. “We really are a basketball family. We would go to their (sons’) college games and I would keep track of my kids’ scoring. After they graduated from college, we were like, ‘What are we going to do now?’ We just like going to basketball games. We love the game. Now with the grand children playing, it takes on a different meaning.

“When Ron (Berman) was the coach, he (Mack) would sit on the other side of the floor,” added Grayce Copeland. “I could help him with what he was doing and he could help me with what I was doing. It wasn’t like, ‘if he doesn’t do the stats, I’m not going to do the score book’. It became more enjoyable because of riding the bus with the team and Ron and Kevin (assistant coach Leonard). It became a more enjoyable evening.”

In the early 1990s, Grayce was working as a library aid and teacher’s aid at Palmyra middle school when she learned about the need for a basketball score keeper at the junior high level. Eventually, she took her book keeping talents to the high school.

Mack was never too far behind the scenes.

IMG_7973“I said, “Oh, I can do that,’,” said Grayce. “Then when Bob Burris left at the high school and we got this new coach, I was like, ‘Gee, I don’t know if I can do high school’. I just stayed with it and he moved on and eventually Mr. Berman took it over. We had a really good relationship with Ron and Sue (Berman). He coached our boys when they were in high school. When Ron resigned I asked Mary (Manlove), ‘If you have someone to be the scorekeeper, I’m fine with that’. But she wanted to keep things the way they were as much as possible.

“When I first started doing it, it was like, ‘Can I do this?.’ Grayce continued. “My brother lives in Florida and he’s always asking, ‘When are you going to come visit?’ We always tell him, ‘We’ll come in February, after the last game’. But over the last ten years, it’s been like, ‘Oh, we can’t do that until March’. I want to see how they (the girls) do. I don’t want to miss.”

“It was Ron’s first or second year,” recalled Mack. “He asked me if I would be interested in doing it. I said, ‘Yeah. Yeah, I would.’ I started following the girls when Ron got back into coaching. I enjoyed being around basketball in any capacity. Eventually I got to know the families. But I always liked the challenge of getting things right.

IMG_8081“I’ve always been a basketball analyst,” continued Mack. “When I watch games on TV, I always do my own analysis. It’s a natural affinity. I played every sport, but basketball was my love. All three boys have been in coaching, so the interest has just continued. I wanted to stay close to it. It really makes the winter pass. And what makes it even more interesting is that when these girls graduate, they come back.”

At one point, Grayce was keeping the stats that Mack currently does – things like shooting percentage, offensive and defensive rebounds, free throws and charges taken – in addition to keeping the book. Not that Mack was looking over her shoulder, but the division of labor became a positive thing for Palmyra’s girls’ basketball program.

Grayce’s capacity is more of an official one; she dons the black and white pinstripes to prove it. Mack performs in more of a team capacity

IMG_7978“I tried to keep them in the book,” said Grayce. “They were limited stats like turnovers, offensive rebounds and defensive rebounds. That was tough. He (Charlie Harvey) had someone film the games and he would say, ‘You really didn’t do a bad job.’ But I missed some things. When Ron became the head coach, he asked Mack to keep the stats.

“It’s not difficult keeping score at this point,” continued Grayce. “I started keeping quarters in different colors. That way, I know who did what when. I talk the whole game, ‘Ten for two’. A lot of the timekeepers have said to me, ‘I appreciate you doing that.’”

“When Mary took over she asked if I would share my responsibilities with her father (John Kernat),” said Mack of the Cougars’ new head coach. “I really enjoy working with him. I think I do an even more thorough job. I think the stats are even more accurate. All of our stats are fed to Mary’s husband, and he puts them on a spread sheet.

“They (Manlove and Berman) have two different coaching styles, but both are hard workers,” Mack continued. “Mary is constantly asking us, ‘What’s important? Who’s doing well?’ Ron didn’t want instantaneous feedback. He wanted it for future game plans. I thought it would be tough to follow Ron, but she knows what she’s doing. She’s very, very solid.”

In one small way, Mack and Grayce have contributed to the Palmyra girls’ basketball program’s success, both under Manlove and Berman. In another small way, the Copelands have helped pave the way for a smooth transition.

“When he told us he was resigning we were shocked, to say the least,” said Grayce of Berman. “It’s tough to follow Dean Smith, but I give Mary credit. At practice, I went over and introduced myself. But we knew the girls.

“I would really like to do it one more year, to make it 25 years,” added Grayce. “Especially since we have grandchildren playing, I’d like to stick it out a few more years. If someone said, ‘I don’t think you’re getting the book right’, I’d step down. We still have such a close relationship with Ron and Sue. It’s hard for us that he’s not there, but Mary has done such a wonderful job. They (the girls) are responding to her.”

IMG_8013“She (Manlove) had several meetings with Ron and I think he gave us a ringing endorsement,” said Mack. “I think she wanted to keep as much continuity as possible. We took one or two worries off her back.

“I thought I would probably keep doing it as long as Ron was coaching,” Mack added. “At this time, now my grand-daughters are coming along. I’m still going to be involved as long as I can. My initial thought was: ‘When Ron retires, I’m going to retire’. But my thoughts have changed.”

The Copelands have become so emotionally invested in the program that they can’t imagine not being part of Cougar game nights.

“If I wasn’t keeping stats, in all likelihood, with our grand-daughters, I’d probably be at Palmyra girls’ games,” said Mack. “Maybe I’d occasionally go a boys’ game when the girls were away. But I’d definitely be at a basketball game.

“But I have to give a lot of credit to my wife at the scorer’s table. It’s a team effort,” Mack continued. “But she does an excellent job.”

“If I weren’t keeping score, I would be going to the games, probably,” said Grayce. “But I really have enjoyed doing it. And I would’ve stepped down a long time ago if I wasn’t.

“It’s a little harder to keep my mouth closed with my grand-daughter playing,” continued Grayce. “I’ve always been close to the girls. I’m supposed to be impartial. I’m not allowed to cheer. But it is a little tougher when they lose.”

 

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To purchase images in this article email jkfalk2005@yahoo.com.

 

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 2016-17 Palmyra Girls’ Basketball Schedule
DATE OPPONENT TIME RESULT
12/09 #
@Kennard-Dale
5:00 PM W 51-18
12/10 #
@Northern Lebanon
7:00 PM L 24-43
12/13 *
@Mechanicsburg
7:30 PM W 37-30
12/14
Hempfield
7:30 PM W 45-41
12/16 *
@Susquehanna Twp.
7:30 PM W 49-38
12/19 *
Cedar Cliff
7:30 PM W 48-43
12/21 *
Bishop McDevitt
7:30 PM L 40-44
12/23
@Cocalico
7:30 PM L 35-40
12/27 #
@Manheim Twp.
2:00 PM L 41-50
12/28
@Ephrata
2:00 PM W 53-36
01/03 *
Red Land
7:30 PM W 48-27
01/04
@Elco
7:30 PM
01/06 *
@Hershey
7:30 PM W 40-25
01/10 *
Lower Dauphin
7:30 PM W 44-31
01/13 *
Mechanicsburg
7:30 PM L 32-36
DATE OPPONENT TIME LOCATION
01/17 *
Susquehanna Twp.
7:30 PM Palmyra High School
01/20 *
@Cedar Cliff
7:30 PM Cedar Cliff High School
01/24 *
@Bishop McDevitt
7:30 PM Bishop McDevitt High School
01/24
Cedar Crest
7:30 PM Palmyra High School
01/27 *
@Red Land
7:30 PM Red Land High School
01/31 *
Hershey
7:30 PM Palmyra High School
02/03 *
@Lower Dauphin
7:30 PM Lower Dauphin High School
02/07
Milton Hershey
7:30 PM Palmyra High School

IMG_7998Mid-Penn Conference

 Keystone Division Standings

TEAM LEAGUE OVERALL
Bishop McDevitt 6-2 11-3
Cedar Cliff 6-2 10-4
Lower Dauphin 6-2 9-4
Palmyra 6-2 9-5
Mechanicsburg 3-5 6-7
Susquehanna Twp. 3-5 5-6
Hershey 2-6 4-9
Red Land 0-8 2-11

 

PIAA District Three

 Class AAAAA Power Rankings

AAAAA School  W  L  T  Rating  TWP  OWP
1 Harrisburg 11- 2- 0  0.773702  0.898305  0.621410
2 New Oxford 12- 2- 0  0.745421  0.891026  0.567460
3 Susquehannock 11- 3- 0  0.719443  0.834459  0.578868
4 Lampeter Strasburg 11- 2- 0  0.706324  0.882353  0.491179
5 Lower Dauphin 9- 4- 0  0.705030  0.760300  0.637479
6 Greencastle Antrim 10- 2- 0  0.701359  0.873134  0.491411
7 Dover Area 11- 3- 0  0.695730  0.820946  0.542688
8 West York Area 10- 4- 0  0.687686  0.760274  0.598967
9 Twin Valley 9- 3- 0  0.687008  0.813492  0.532417
10 Fleetwood Area 9- 2- 0  0.676697  0.855319  0.458380
11 Palmyra Area 9- 5- 0  0.670060  0.706081  0.626033
12 Cocalico 9- 4- 0  0.650238  0.765568  0.509279
13 Donegal 9- 4- 0  0.619384  0.729730  0.484516
14 Milton Hershey 7- 3- 0  0.609721  0.706731  0.491154
15 Muhlenberg 8- 5- 0  0.598192  0.664093  0.517647
16 Mechanicsburg Area 6- 8- 0  0.548481  0.514706  0.589762
17 Shippensburg Area 6- 7- 0  0.542105  0.544747  0.538875
18 South Western 5- 8- 0  0.538411  0.474104  0.617010
19 Solanco 7- 7- 0  0.529938  0.579137  0.469806
20 Northern York 6- 8- 0  0.496934  0.472441  0.526870
21 Gettysburg Area 5- 9- 0  0.472047  0.399254  0.561016
22 Hershey 4- 9- 0  0.447664  0.358566  0.556563
23 Spring Grove Area 3- 11- 0  0.443026  0.279528  0.642857
24 Daniel Boone 4- 10- 0  0.427640  0.341085  0.533428
25 Conrad Weiser 3- 10- 0  0.401090  0.292181  0.534201
26 Manheim Central 3- 10- 0  0.377040  0.274262  0.502658
27 Red Land 2- 11- 0  0.369810  0.181818  0.599578
28 Garden Spot 2- 11- 0  0.369327  0.199134  0.577340
29 Big Spring 2- 10- 0  0.350438  0.196262  0.538875
30 Northeastern 1- 15- 0  0.331925  0.072414  0.649105
31 Lebanon 0- 13- 0  0.283015  0.000000  0.628922

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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