Archive for Wednesday, January 1, 2003

Well-rounded guard

Varsity’s Katie Davis a ‘jane’-of-all-trades on the court

January 1, 2003

Every basketball team has one.

They are not the players who earn headlines by leading their teams in scoring every game. Rather they're the players who do the little things, like getting hard rebounds or chasing down loose balls. Some are even called on to be defensive specialists and are asked to stick to the other team's star offensive player like glue.

They are the role players.

De Soto girls basketball coach Dwight Spencer has one of those players on his team, too. But what makes Katie Davis so special is she never seems to know her role until the game has settled into its flow. And she still finds a way to contribute.

"She does everything well," Spencer said. "Nobody ever picks her out after a game because she doesn't lead (in the box score). But when needed, she scores or rebounds. She's in there battling. She won't lead the team in any one category, but she's still a leader. She'll contribute a little of everything to the team."

To illustrate his point, Spencer said Davis' role during the Santa Fe Trail game was to score, and she answered with 11 points.

Against Perry-Lecompton, her main objective was to wreak havoc on the Kaws' guards.

"She maybe didn't have any steals in that last game," Spencer said. "But she created a lot of turnovers with her full-court pressure. She works hard every day in practice. But one specific role? I don't think we can nail that down for her."

Davis, who started playing basketball on a sixth-grade team coached by her father at Bonner Springs, could also be called the team's ironwoman.

For the past two-plus basketball seasons, Davis has not missed a game because of an injury or illness. She's just a steady, reliable player.

Davis is also a good fit for the tempo of game Spencer wants to see out of his team this season.

"I like to go out and get them," Davis said. "I just want to play hard and have fun.

"We want to run as a team as well. We have a fast team. Our big girls can run, too, so we want to put a lot of pressure on them, as long as we're not in foul trouble."

The senior guard, who is averaging slightly less than seven points and three assists through the first four games, said her strengths were her hustle and her ability to shoot when her confidence was there.

She also has displayed sticky hands this season, as is evident by her 10 steals at the winter break. Throw into the mix the 13 rebounds she has nabbed, and it's easy to understand why Spencer talks so highly of his guard, and why his team has been able to achieve a 3-1 mark so far this season.

She spent the better part of last summer preparing her body and confidence for the rigors of the game by attending the team camp in De Soto and an individual camp at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb.

While in Omaha, Davis said she and teammate Julie Beck were given the opportunity to work on their shooting and dribbling skills as well as playing in 3-on-3 and 1-on-1 tournaments.

The Creighton camp was one of her favorite memories of her basketball career, Davis said. She hoped to take what she learned and use it to help her team earn a berth in the Kansas 4A state basketball tournament in March, she said.

"The camp helped me get more consistency in my shot," Davis said. "We played so much basketball that I was able to get more rhythm in my shot."

One of the biggest thrills she encountered at the camp was the chance she and Beck had to play against girls they and fellow senior teammate Emily Holton watched at the state tournament last year.

Davis, who couldn't recall the names of the players or for which team they played, didn't seem to mind losing to them because she knew just how good they were.

She just hoped their state tournament experience rubbed off on her and Beck and would eventually cling to the rest of the Wildcat basketball team.

"If we get to the state tournament, our season will be a great success," she said. "As long as we have no injuries and keep working as hard as we are right now, I think we have a good shot at making it to the state tournament."

Davis plans on attending Mid-America Nazarene University next fall with a major in education. She also hopes to get into coaching some day.

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