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St. Marys’ Lara Fetty, Kylie Wright give team great senior leadership

Blue Devil duo ready for the challenges ahead in new season

File Photo St. Marys’ Lara Fetty (at left) and teammate Kylie Wright (23) are ready for the challenges ahead in a different kind of season for Blue Devil girls’ basketball.

ST. MARYS — Great leaders come and go at the high school level.

During a time unlike any we’ve seen, the 2021 winter sports season has a lot of questions still unanswered, but senior guard Lara Fetty and forward Kylie Wright of St. Marys are ready for the challenges ahead. Their roles as leaders on Howie Meeks’ squad can’t be understated, as they’re helping lead the way for their team on and off the hardwood. The Little Kanawha Conference is full of players sure to leave an impact, and St. Marys has its fair share of girls who can leave that mark. For Fetty and Wright, coach Meeks sees them as special talents leaving a legacy that will last for quite some time.

“When you’re a senior, everything you work on just builds up. Those two took it on themselves to improve,” Meeks said.

“When the weather was still nice, they would meet up to play pick-up basketball. They’ve been meeting at 6 a.m. at the fitness center. They’ve been leading the young girls and getting them prepared on their own.”

Wright enters this abbreviated season on pace to score 1,000 points for her Blue Devil career, and she led the team in scoring with 12.1 points per game in 2019-20. Improvements in her game could see her competing for top honors in the conference, but she’s currently focused on navigating through the challenges of playing through a pandemic. That starts with practice.

“It has definitely changed the way we practice as a team,” she said. “I think that even with waiting for the governor and everything, we still managed to find a way to get together and work out as a team. It helps us stay in decent shape, too.”

The importance of preparedness isn’t lost on Fetty, either. Having averaged 8.6 points per game during the 19-20 season, she’s also filling a role as one of Meeks’ top leaders. Meeks called Fetty “the most complete player we have right now,” and said that “the lightbulb clicked on for her about halfway through the season.”

Like Wright, she can’t wait to hit the hardwood and begin her senior season.

“They are a lot of really good teams in the LKC, but we’re putting hard work in. Anything is possible,” Fetty said. “We’re just looking forward to getting the chance. I think the expectation for us is just to work hard and buy in. Then, things will fall into place when we need them to.”

Wright and Fetty attribute their success to their teammates and the hard work everyone puts in. While time will tell how the underclassmen will adjust to this strange time, the Fetty-Wright duo is confident in everyone’s ability to step up when needed.

“Our success has come from us realizing where we need to be,” Wright remarked. “Even if it takes us a bit to realize it, we do end up coming together as a team. We keep pushing through our difficult times, and that’s where we come together. It comes from us wanting to be a team.”

Fetty added that through all the challenges waiting for the team, they look forward to facing those obstacles together.

“Struggles breed success. That’s what we’re hoping to do,” she said. “When we do face those hard battles, we’ll learn from them and get ready, come championship time.”

Meeks spoke glowingly of his team, and of those two seniors, he said they showcase a sense of excellence for which SMHS is known. The void left by Wright and Fetty will be filled with future leaders, but Meeks says they are some of the best leaders he has coached.

“I’ll be honest, it’s been quite a while since I’ve had a team where the bar has been raised to where there are no excuses,” Meeks said. “They are so talented and so beautiful and so intelligent. When you look at former seniors I’ve had, they became teachers, headstart teachers, doctors, pharmacists and so much else. These two are going to be passing that on. We’ve got (that excellence) back. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a team that’s hungrier than me, and these girls are definitely hungrier than me. That’s great to see.”

Contact Josh Hughes at jhughes@newsandsentinel.com

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