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Dixon makes successful switch from post to point

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Ronald Vezzani Jr. | For the Daily News
Steel Valley's CeCe Dixon goes for a reverse layup during the fourth quarter against Fort Cherry on Monday, Jan. 7, 2013, at Steel Valley.
Top high school sports
By Keith Barnes
Friday, March 29, 2013, 1:31 a.m.

Steel Valley asked a lot of senior CeCe Dixon.

Not only was she the lone returning starter from a team that qualified for the PIAA Class AA playoffs a year earlier, but the 5-foot-11 power forward was asked to switch positions and move outside to a guard slot to better diversify the team's scoring punch.

She made the necessary changes with an aplomb not readily seen.

Instead of crumbling under the added responsibilities of bringing the ball up and distributing it to her teammates, Dixon, the 2013 Daily News Girls Basketball Player of the Year, showed her versatility and was able to lead the Ironmen to within one victory of again qualifying for the state tournament.

“The first three years she played our ‘four,' and last year we started pointing her up a little bit more. But we were so guard heavy last year that we still had her down on the post,” Steel Valley coach Kelly Sabo said. “One of her focuses was working on her guard game, working on her foot speed, working on her shooting and her ball-handling. ... And she had a great summer, worked really hard at the position and set up mismatches for us.”

Despite not getting as many layups as she was used to, the California (Pa.) University recruit was still ninth in Class AA in scoring with 16.7 points per game and was a force to be reckoned with on dribble penetration. She also honed her game to become a better passer.

“It was hard really. But I played guard all summer at AAU, so coming in I was a little more used to it,” Dixon said. “I was definitely happy with where we ended up, but I wanted to take us further if I could have.”

Dixon will play for another Steel Valley alumnus, former shooting guard Jess Strom, at Cal U.

“I think it's going to be great,” Dixon said. “I'm excited; she's excited. She helped me through everything by talking to me and telling me what her experiences were like and then, when I walked on campus, I just automatically loved it.”

Still, despite that high school success, there remains some work to do before she becomes an elite player at the next level.

“I'm always telling myself that I've got to do better,” Dixon said. “I need to work on everything if I want to get to where I want to go in college.”

And she has the work ethic to make it happen.

“I think one of the most important things that every girl needs to work on is having that confidence in your game because it's a whole other speed,” Sabo said. “Once she adapts to that speed, she's going to be very successful at that new level and she's going to be a great pickup for California University.”

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