Fresh start for Nimmons at Northeast
This was supposed to be Ciera Nimmons' year at Prep Charter. After three straight Public League AAA titles, a District 12 Class AAA championship, and more than one state-tournament run, Nimmons had high hopes for her final go-round in a Huskies basketball uniform.
This was supposed to be Ciera Nimmons' year at Prep Charter.
After three straight Public League AAA titles, a District 12 Class AAA championship, and more than one state-tournament run, Nimmons had high hopes for her final go-round in a Huskies basketball uniform.
Then, after three straight seasons of 20 wins or more, as the dynamic guard put it, "everything went downhill."
Prep Charter was investigated for having players on the roster from Coatesville and New Jersey. Eventually, some of the Huskies' titles were stripped, and the program also was strapped with postseason sanctions.
Now, the 5-foot-8 senior guard has transferred to Northeast, the neighborhood school that is only a couple of blocks from her home.
Suddenly, everything is new for Nimmons: a new school, a new coach, new teammates, and even a new number because the Vikings didn't have a No. 13 jersey.
"I had to [move on]. It is time to move on," Nimmons said. "I'm very excited. At first I was a little down, but I've put everything behind me and moved on."
And while she stayed in the Public League, she went from a Class AAA school to a Class AAAA school, meaning she won't face some of her familiar opponents.
It's her ability to adapt, she said, that has made the transition easier than some would expect. Instead of sulking, Nimmons is upbeat and energetic, infectious qualities that she says will be good for the Vikings.
"I bring energy, excitement, a positive attitude, and just a readiness to go hard. I work hard every play," Nimmons said.
At first, however, coach Phil Monastra wasn't even aware that Nimmons was walking the halls of Northeast.
Monastra found out about Nimmons through the grapevine, as players began texting him asking about a new girl named Ciera.
It took a look through the school directory, as well as help from the Internet, to confirm his players' suspicions, and he decided it was time to introduce himself.
Once Monastra found out that Nimmons was in the history class of his assistant coach, Maureen Gallagher, he stopped by during seventh period. It was then that Monastra asked Nimmons how good a player she was. Nimmons nonchalantly shrugged, and said she used to go to Prep Charter and they were "pretty good."
The second-year head coach needed only a few minutes of googling to find out just how good.
When he saw that Nimmons had led the Huskies in scoring and was second-team all-state a season ago, he said to her, "So, you are a little bit better than 'pretty good?' "
Then he started getting excited about the prospects of Northeast's season.
"She's definitely one of the most complete players I've seen," Monastra said. "She is very aggressive rebounding, has great height for a guard, good ballhandling skills, and can shoot. She's willing to pass. She has everything."
Nimmons joins fellow senior guards Lauren Willis, who led the team in scoring last season (averaging more than 20 points), and Briyah Hill, who was out all last season because of a torn ACL.
"I'm excited," Willis said. "It makes us more explosive, much more explosive. We have people that are more experienced now."
Nimmons, who has narrowed her college choices to four Division I schools - Niagara, Siena, Maine, and Rider - is looking forward to returning to the Public League championship game and, she hopes, the state tournament.
The jersey might be different. It's red and black instead of navy, and the number isn't 13, but that doesn't matter to Nimmons.
It's still her year.