Kaitlyn Ray embraces leadership role for Cardinals

Kaitlyn Ray (20) and the Big Rapids Cardinals have their sights set on a CSAA Gold title. (Pioneer file photo)

BIG RAPIDS — Senior Kaitlyn Ray has played a critical part in the success of Big Rapids’ girls basketball program the past three years.

Ray, a first-team All-CSAA player last season, has helped the Cardinals to a 15-1 (9-1) record and has the team in position to earn another conference crown.

She always finds ways to stuff stat sheets. In Friday’s 37-26 win over Fremont, Ray scored three points but added 11 rebounds and seven steals.

“We came out with great intensity and then it just fades,” Ray said. “We had really good practice this week. We had a slow second quarter, but overall we did great.”

Big Rapids hosts first-place Central Montcalm (16-0, 10-0) at 6 p.m. Friday.

As one of only four seniors on the varsity team, joining Leah Morningstar, Kelsey Walch, and Jayla Strickland. The seniors play a pivotal role in the development of the younger players and have seen growth over the course of the season. Sophomore Holly McKenna and freshman Megan Mackall have seen increased roles as of late.

“I enjoy seeing them play and grow,” Ray said. “The upperclassmen are doing a great job of guiding them. I think they’re doing great.

“We’re training them for the future, but they’re doing a great job right now.”

Ray and her fellow seniors are trying to make the last few weeks of their prep careers an enjoyable ride.

“It’s hard,” Ray said. “But you just have to tell yourself that you’re going to be done soon. Every single game you have to leave everything on the court. For the seniors, we’re going to be done soon.

“It’s just now hitting us, so now we have to make sure to leave our mark.”
Big Rapids hosts Newaygo at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

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