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By GOOSE LINDSAY
When Todd Wright was the head coach at Oliver Springs High School, he relied on Laura Hall to lead one of the state's top programs.
Wright has since moved on and is now the head coach at Maryville College, be he will still be counting on a Hall to lead his team as the Lady Scots signed Kelsey Hall, Laura'a sister, to a scholarship last week.
“I'm really excited,” Hall said after her signing. “Maryville College is close to home and I've known coach Wright since I was little. I think it's good to go to a program that I know a little bit about.”
“I'm very excited for Kelsey,” Lady 'Cat head coach Michelle Christopher added. “Maryville will be a great place for her. She knows about the program and the education she receives at Maryville will be top notch.”
For Wright, Hall's signing means a lot. Hall played one summer for Wright before he left for Roane State and she is the first Oliver Springs player to play for him in college.
“It makes me proud to sign Kelsey Hall for a lot reasons,” Wright said. “She is the first player that I coached at Oliver Springs, all be it, only the summer and a few weeks in the fall her freshman year, that has come to play for me in college. And she will be the last, because her class is the last group of players at Oliver Springs that I had the opportunity to work with. Having her come is exciting for that reason.
“It is also exciting to have her come to Maryville because of the ties that I have to the Hall family. After coaching Laura for four years, and then have her coach with me last year there is definitely a special bond with the whole family. I am really looking forward to coaching Kelsey and getting to know her better. It is going to be a fun time while she is here.”
Wright, however, didn't sign Hall for sentimental reasons. Hall fits Wright's up-tempo system to a tee both offensively and defensively as she can push the pace on offense and pressure the ball on defense. Plus coach Christopher's system at Oliver Springs was designed after Wright's.
“I've made a few changes and I know coach Wright has made a few changes but overall it's the same system and Kelsey is a great fit,” Christopher said. “She plays the way he likes. She's hard-nosed, aggressive and she pushes the ball on offense. She's a natural point guard, she knows who to get the ball to and when to get it to them. And she can score when she has the opportunity, especially in transition.”
“Kelsey is a fierce competitor with outstanding point guard skills,”Wright added. “She is also a very good shooter and she comes to us from a tradition of winning at Oliver Springs High School. She knows what it means to compete for championships.”
Hall also knows her role.
“My job is to play good defense and get the ball to the open player. I'm also going to have to work on hitting more jumpers because I'm not going to get may shots inside,” said the 5' point guard.
Hall will also be joining her sister Laura, who is an assistant at Maryville. Kelsey believes playing for Laura will be fun and she doesn't think playing for a family member will present a challenge.
“There's times when we don't get along as well as we should, but we know when it's time for business and time to goof off,” Kelsey said. “I know Laura will be able to help me out a lot with everything that goes on in college.”