Danville girls shoot past Wayne County on Senior Night

Published 11:31 pm Tuesday, February 13, 2018


The Admirals have won four of their last five games.

Danville girls won’t have another game till the 45th District tournament next week, but they looked sharp Tuesday in a 58-44 victory against Wayne County.

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Head coach Clifford Berry continued to work young players into his rotation — and continued to see growth from players without star Ivy Turner on the floor.

“I’m starting to see Carolina grow up. Carolina Gonzalez has really stepped up these last three or four games, and Lara Akers, she’s showing now that she’s going to fit in at the varsity level,” Berry said. “That’s what we’ve been preaching all year: We need at least two or three other pieces that are willing to play like Ivy, play downhill, attack, set up other shooters. That way, a team just can’t sit back and double-team Ivy.”

Wayne tried double-teaming Turner in Tuesday’s game, but Gonzalez and the Akers twins — Lara and Jenna — combined for 23 first-half points as the Admirals led 35-25.

“Once other girls start playing, you have to get out of that defense. I’m starting to see a lot of them mature,” Berry said. “I’ve told them, I consider you sophomores now. You’ve played enough, you’ve made enough mistakes. All that freshmen stuff, we’re done with that. They’re starting to show me more with their body language, they don’t fold. There were times there when they kept fighting back and we never gave into it. They’re still talking in the huddle, they’re picking each other up. It’s those small things that I told them that they just need to learn about basketball.”

It was senior night for Danville, and the Admirals had two seniors to honor: Kirby Harrison-Alcorn and Kassidy Lanigan.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better pair of seniors. They were completely unselfish,” Berry said. “They were willing to do whatever role I asked of them.”

It’s Berry’s first year as head coach at Danville, and he said both players helped him smoothly transition into the head coach role.

“Kirby, it was tough for her to figure me out early because I’m more of a defensive coach, and she’s never had that person push her to do the defensive rebounding and extra stuff in a game, she just wants to shoot it,” Berry said. “And she’s a great shooter. But I told her, for her to stay on the floor, she needed to do other things. And she’s just had a great attitude, she’s been a great leader, she gets the girls together and she leads them into stuff.

“Kassidy, she’s grown since the first day I met her. There were things that she couldn’t do and now, she’s a piece. She can be a big piece in the Boyle game. If we can get her to be big, stay under control and get rebounds when we need them, that’ll be all the role we need from her. And she’s willing to do that now.”

Berry said the two have been great examples on and off of the court for him to show underclassmen.

“Those two seniors, they were great examples for the girls,” he said. “They showed that if you work hard in practice every day, you’re going to get your opportunities. That’s what you need, you need seniors around who are willing to buy into the program and get younger players to follow along. They were great at that. I’m lucky to have those two in my first year.”