Marty, King, Shaw and Bange have learned to measure success and happiness in terms other than limelight and fanfare and their departure will leave a bigger gap than fans and players realize
You don’t know what you have until it’s gone.
It’s an old adage, and one that you don’t hear very often these days, but it happens to be true more often than not and Elsberry sports are no exception.
Sadly, Elsberry basketball is about to lose four extremely stable and consistent players, and the loss may not be fully felt until next season.
Myra Marty, Kayla King, Cody Shaw, and Kyle Bange, four very dedicated players who have spent the last four years putting the needs of the program ahead of their own, are preparing to leave Elsberry and enter the next phase of their lives.
“Myra and Kayla have a special place in our basketball program,” said Coach Hector Bencomo. “In the past when we did not have enough players to play a junior varsity schedule, both players were gracious enough to help us fill the void. They both kept the junior varsity team alive and going, and they will always have a special place in my heart.”
Marty and King were both pretty candid with me in discussing what it was like to make it through the tough seasons and to now watch the team make such a strong comeback during their senior year.
“It was definitely a very long road of tough battles,” said Marty. “It was hard to lose a lot, but it got better. You have to fight for what you want. It was definitely worth it.”
King took a more philosophical approach to her rollercoaster high school career.
“My freshman year we had a pretty good team, and then it just went downhill,” said King. “I just stuck with it because I knew that sooner or later it would get better. All things have to come to rock bottom before you can go anywhere else. This year has just been one of the better years. For once we actually came together as a team and we’re seeing that if we work together we can win.”
What made the girls stick with it the whole time? Where did their motivation come from?
“My mom and I love basketball and we always played,” said King. “She comes to every single game and she’s always there for me. Even if I don’t play, she tells me that I was amazing.”
King’s best friend Molly, a former Elsberry student who now attends the University of Missouri, has also been a significant source of moral support, sending her text messages after every game, regardless of whether the Lady Indians win or lose.
Marty gave credit to her mother as well, but also thanked her Ag. teacher Jason Vandivort for all of his support.
In addition, both girls were quick to mention the encouragement that they have received from Coach Bencomo, Coach Spratt, Tanner Bencomo, and Krista Dye.
“I have grown to respect and admire Myra and Kayla,” said Bencomo. “Most kids would have given up by their sophomore year, but not these two. The road was never easy for them, but they just kept coming back getting better and better every day.”
Shaw and Bange have also benefitted through the years from Elsberry’s top-notch coaching staff.
“Coach is always there, no matter what happens to our team,” said Shaw. “He’s always been there to pick us up.”
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