Flyers dig sudden impact of volleyball players on hoop squad

By JOHN JAMES MARSHALL, Journal Sports

The Loyola girls basketball team defeated Lakeside 66-26 Wednesday night in the Loyola gym as senior Tiffany Siharath had five 3-pointers on the way to a 17-point performance.

But there were no aces. Not a single dig. The Flyers went the whole game without a kill.

That may have seemed strange to a few members of the basketball team. Because until two days ago, they were members of the volleyball team.

Thanks to the latest wave of Covid infections, Loyola coach Kyle Tanner showed up for practice late last week and there more coaches (three) than players (two).

“I’d been thinking about what we were going to do once most of our team went on quarantine and knew what the possibilities might be,” Tanner said “I didn’t want to forfeit games and I wanted to do anything I could to get people out there.”

So he had an idea. Why not see if a few of the members of the Loyola volleyball team would be interested?

“They’re eligible and they can jump,” Tanner said. “I figured that was good enough.”

So far it has been. Even though the Flyers have been without four players, including two starters, they have won both games this week. They beat Green Oaks in the district opener Tuesday night and won against Lakeside in a game that had been postponed because of – you guessed it – Covid.

Senior Jamie Kinsey and juniors Makayla Horton and Olivia Hudson stepped right in and each scored in their first game Tuesday. Against Lakeside, Horton had eight points and Kinsey had four.

“I played all through middle school,” Hudson said. “Coach Tanner asked if I wanted to play and I told him I would if I needed to. Then he came up to me in P.E. and said ‘you’re playing’ and I was really surprised.”

“Playing basketball in exhilarating,” said Kinsey, who played on the varsity basketball team two years ago. “The adrenalin really hits you when you get on the floor. I’d be really nervous if I hadn’t played before.”

But it did take some getting used to. “When I got out there at first (against Green Oaks), I was thinking, What am I doing out here?” Kinsey said. “But then I got into the swing of it.”

“I was really nervous at first, but I was very excited,” said Horton, who played on the JV as freshman two years ago and is one of Loyola’s top volleyball players. “It’s challenging, but there’s not a lot of pressure on me. I can just go out there and have fun.”

Even with experience, both were surprised to score in their first game out. “I was really surprised I scored,” Horton said. “And then I remembered I had to run downcourt.”

“I hadn’t shot baskets so Iong, I was really surprised,” Kinsey said. “I was thinking, Oh my gosh I can’t believe that just went in.”

“Volleyball and basketball and two completely different sports,” Hudson said. “It’s an adjustment, but I want to put all my effort into doing well and proving why he chose me.”

The Flyers are now 8-9 and have won four straight. They’ll play Bossier Friday night at home at 6 p.m.

PHOTO: Volleyball players Olivia Hudson, Jamie Kinsey and Makayla Horton bolstered the basketball roster for Loyola Wednesday night. (Photo by John James Marshall)


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