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ALBRIGHT: Ravenswood’s Hunt rises to the occasion

Senior’s leadership pays off for Red Devils

Give it up for Ravenswood point guard Annie Hunt.

Commend her in any way you choose, it really doesn’t matter. Perhaps, deliver her a round of applause. Or throw your hands in the air and wave them around like you just don’t care. Maybe, whip your head back and forth, whip your head back and forth.

Seriously!

Nothing anyone does is too extreme when it comes to extoling what Hunt has been doing for her team. Everything is notable, important, and oozes unselfishness. It is all worthy of praise.

Look, as the lone senior, she easily eyed the opportunity to set her own agenda. She could have chased the 1,000-point mark, something all high school ballplayers aspire toward in their career or declined to prepare numerous talented freshmen for immediate action on the varsity court. She could have wanted this season to be all about her, and seeing just how close she could come to her mother, Mary Beth, at the top of the program record books.

Or, you know … she could have embraced the challenge of piloting a young team, which, of course, is exactly what she did. In every way, shape, form and fashion, No. 41 has answered the call of leadership without so much as a single doubt.

Night in and night out, she delivers exactly whatever head coach Cara Williams asks of her.

Her brilliance has been on display in every contest.

Whether it was a road trip at Williamstown, where the Red Devils fell just short of an upset of — at the time — one of the hottest teams in the state, or doling out assists and pulling down rebounds against Wahama. Then there is the St. Marys game, where everything came together in a near perfect symphony against one of the most veteran teams in the Little Kanawha Conference.

Against Howie Meeks, a coach notorious for tying up young groups in knots, Hunt and company never blinked. Rather, they gathered themselves after every attempted knock down and answered back as best they could until they ran out of time. Of course, at the center of it all was Hunt. The senior hit big baskets, dished out bigger assists, and generally kept the nerves of herself and her team in check. In fact, three of the biggest plays of the game belonged to the Red Devil.

Her layup just before halftime sent the home crowd into a frenzy as it gave their group a 13-point halftime lead. Her trey with 3:47 left in the third then kicked off an exchange of leads four different times. Then, when her group needed her the most as St. Marys threatened to pull away, the senior gathered herself, rose up and delivered a casual no-biggie trey that brought the Red Devils within 3 in the final minute.

Of course, the larger takeaway from that game comes from how many girls scored in double-digits and how many girls touched the ball on every position. As four different players, including two freshmen (Hadleigh McGoskey with 19 and Maci Mossor with 13), tallied 10 of more points, it showed the kind of confidence that Hunt bred into the group. No one need worry about the senior getting angry, she wanted to make sure everyone learned early and often.

Everything together showed the maturity of someone who wanted to win and bring her team along for the ride.

“She is just one of those kids who is very team oriented, and she knows in order for us to be successful as a team, she has to play within the team concept,” Williams said.

“If that means scoring 30 points or scoring five than that is what is going to happen.”

Not only does Hunt wheel and deal, but anyone can see her doing it with a smile, all the while encouraging her young teammates to expand their games and rise up.

“That is the biggest part especially with our youngsters. She’s made the biggest sacrifices in her game. Even if it killed her scoring stats, she still increased her rebounds, steals and assists,” assistant coach Butch Varney said.

And her willingness to give up that glory and mold a young team from the clay has paid off. The “youngsters” have found themselves and their games. McGoskey’s confidence is soaring. Mossor and Emily Wratchford are fully ingrained in the main rotation. And even though they aren’t freshmen, Libby Hall and Lindsey Carroll carved out staple roles in the group.

Now, the Red Devils are just two wins away from a trip to the state tournament. And it is all possible because Hunt said yes when she could have said no. If that isn’t worthy of praise, I don’t know what is.

Her head coach and Hall certainly know none of this would be possible without her point guard.

“You can’t replace someone on the floor who understands the game the way she does and who is willing to be that team player and be unselfish. There are times we have wanted her to be a little more selfish and go for her shot instead of passing, but we wouldn’t be in this position without having a leader on the floor who has that high basketball IQ and who knows what the situation is at any given time,” Williams said.

“She just brings us together and leads us on the floor,” Hall said.

Opa.

Contact Joe Albright at jalbright@newsandsentinel.com

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