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For GCHS seniors, attitude is everything

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By Ryan Naus

The Grant County girls’ basketball team relied on their two seniors this year. Candace Gorby and Shayna Lockard led by their example and the advice they doled out to younger players.

Now that their high school careers are over, the pair are satisfied and know they helped build the program.

“This year was a lot of fun having underclassmen coming to you for advice,” Gorby said. “For me, it’s the best part. Being able to pass on what I know about the game, I really enjoyed that aspect. I also loved being point guard. You get to run things on the floor and see all the different aspects of the game.”

“I’ve only been here two years, but I know they’ve been a key to the turnaround of the program,” coach Darrell Guffey said. “Three or four years ago, Grant County wasn’t on the map as far as girls’ basketball. Now we’re consistently winning with chances to win 15 to 17 games. I think it’s developed from those two girls.”

The seniors have enjoyed the time they’ve spent on the court together, developing their game and becoming friends, but basketball is more than just a sport for the two players.

“Basketball is the thing in my life that makes everything else better. It’s always there for you. I believe it has made me a more confident person and given me a better attitude,” Lockard said.

“For me, basketball has been more than a place to get away,” Gorby said. “It’s my comfort zone where I feel I can perform best. It’s been a confidence booster.

“When you have that thing in your life, it makes you want to excel in every part of your life,” Gorby said. “It’s a basis of how you should live your life. If you’re going to do something, do your best.”

Both girls love the game. For Gorby, it was the moment she learned the game in third grade. For Lockard, it was the rush she felt when she scored in sixth grade.

“I fell in love with basketball the first time I picked up a ball during my first practice in third grade,” Gorby said. “My ball handling has always been my strongest suit and it improved every day. When I was told I was the point guard, I thought that was the coolest thing. It made me feel good. It’s always been my place to go to.”

“The first game I ever played was in sixth grade and when I stepped on the court, I was completely nervous. After I scored, it was an adrenaline rush and I’ve loved it ever since,” Lockard said.

Their senior season started off with a win, but the Lady Braves were a rollercoaster team. The girls ended their season strong, winning seven out of their final eight games.

Lockard and Gorby hope the younger players on the team have learned from this season and will continue to show improvement in upcoming seasons.

“It means a lot because it means the entire team has gotten so much better from the beginning of the season,” Lockard said. “We’re different people. Now the girls have the confidence to play better next year.”

“We both did what we could have and should have done this season. We helped the younger girls improve and in my opinion, we had a better season that most people believed we would. I’m walking away knowing I did what I could.” Gorby said.

Each senior was inspired early in their high school careers by players and coaches who showed them how talented they could be on the hard court.

“When you play, there are always going to be players that are better than you,” Gorby said. “I’d have to say that the two main things that have driven me are my competitors, who drive me to play better, and my first coach, Perry Seal. Chelsea Tolliver (a Simon Kenton guard) is a beast but when I play her, it gives me a drive to play better so I can play at her level. Perry was a good teaching coach and he influenced how I played at a young age.”

“I think I look up to all the past upperclassmen I played with,” Lockard said. “They made me better by playing against them in practice and some have taken me aside and worked with me. I really look up to Amber Billiter. She always had a positive attitude and helped me develop my game.”

The two seniors share their favorite moment, one that happened at the beginning of their high school careers, although Gorby has an additional moment that meant a lot to her.

“My favorite moment is probably freshmen year when we beat Walton-Verona to go to the region tournament,” Lockard said. “It was the first time it had been done in 10 years. We broke so many records that year. It was amazing.”

“It made people give Grant County a chance. We’ve always been pushed to the side,” Gorby said. My personal favorite was being invited to go to the Kentucky/Indiana All-Star game in Louisville last year. It was a pretty big honor because I missed the second half of the season with a knee injury.”

Lockard and Gorby each have advice for younger players, whether they are just now learning the game or have earned game experience.

“Attitude is everything, whether you think it is important or not,” Gorby said. “Some people think that skill is the only thing you need when you play ball, but you have to have the right attitude and dedicate yourself to the team. It’s your family and it’s who you’re with every day of the season. You have to get in there and listen to your coach and get things done. It’s the only way the team is going to improve.”

“You have to be confident and think that you can do it, even if you aren’t getting the playing time,” Lockard said. “Don’t quit because it gets tough. Stay strong and stick with it. Stay positive.”