Clay Battelle, Local Sports, Sports

Cee-Bees taking a team approach to replace Ammons

BLACKSVILLE — It’s the dawn of a new era for the Clay-Battelle girls’ basketball team. 

After all, it’s going to be quite a challenge to replace Liv Ammons, the most-prolific scorer in school history with over 1,400 career points. 

But what team doesn’t love a challenge, right? 

“I told them that we don’t have to have one person score 20 every night,” said coach David Joyce, beginning his 18th season on the Cee-Bees’ bench. “If each starter makes just two more shots per game, that’s all we’ll need.  When you look at it with that positive spin, it’s not overwhelming by any means.” 

Of course, losing an offensive force like Ammons will inevitably change a team’s dynamic. 

“Liv was so aggressive, so proactive in getting her shot, and the other players tended to automatically look to her,” he explained. “But I think they know it’s now their chance to step up, to improve, to make their mark.” 

Senior Reagan Darling leads four juniors in the expected starting lineup and believes her teammates are ready for their turn. 

“We’re all really excited to help each other take the next step,” she smiled. “Liv was such a great player for us, and we counted on her a lot. But now it’s our chance to depend on each other and make an impact on the game. Each of us knows we have to look to score a little bit more, and we’re looking forward to it.” 

Junior guard Elyse Moore remembers a valuable lesson Ammons taught her, one that she plans on taking into every game this year and next. 

“She told me, no matter how the game is going, to just keep shooting,” she recalled. “She always believed that her next shot was going in. It’s a confident mindset, and while I really love passing, I know I’m going to look to drive and create my own shot when I need to.” 

While Joyce expects the Cee-Bee bench will be fairly short, and therefore staying healthy and out of foul trouble will be a priority this season, Darling has a simple, laudable set of goals for herself and her team. 

“We’ll be tall and fast, and we hope to use our defense to fuel our transition game,” she said. “Hopefully we can win a lot of games and make it to States, but for my senior year, all I want is to have a lot of fun and make a lot of layups.” 

Sounds like a pretty good plan.  

Isabel Lapoe joins Darling as the team’s only seniors. Along with Moore, Raylee Hennen, Laikyn Dalton, Lydia Moore and Kenley Statler round out the junior class. Kaitlynn Eastham is the only sophomore and there are three freshmen on the team, Kyndle Stewart, Olivia Summers and Magnolia Lemley.

Clay-Battelle will begin the season on its home court Dec. 6 against Paden City.

By Mark Schraf

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