Boyd living large from downtown

Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Purdy junior Rion Boyd is making a name for herself and helping the Lady Eagles this season as an outside shooting force. Jared Lankford sports@cassville-democrat.com

Purdy junior opening up inside with hot outside shooting

Purdy junior Rion Boyd is listed at 5-6 in the Purdy stat sheet, but her play this season has been anything but small.

Boyd has a special skill that, according to Coach Eli Ernst, has been missing from the team -- 3-point shooting.

Purdy's Desirie Ennes powers up a shot during action on Thursday. Jared Lankford sports@cassville-democrat.com

"Rion is a blessing to our team on multiple levels," Ernst said. "Her shooting is just what people talk about the most. Her heart and who she is as a human being is phenomenal."

Ernst said what Boyd has been able to do behind the 3-point line has opened up things inside for the Lady Eagles.

"Of course, 3-pointers add up faster than 2, and she hits a high percentage of [threes]," Ernst said. "That makes it easier for our girls inside on the glass."

On Thursday against McAuley Catholic, Boyd made her presence felt in the first quarter with 11 quick points. Three times she splashed home triples in the period to help her team race out to a 23-6 lead at the end of the initial period.

Coming into the game, Boyd had made 34 of 91 attempts from beyond the arc (37 percent), including tying a school record with seven 3-pointers in a win over Walnut Grove earlier in the season.

"Coach gives me the green light," Boyd said. "Once I get on, he tells me to 'keep shooting, keep shooting.'"

Boyd credits her hard work and extra practice on the weekends with her father as being the secret to her success. She has been on a hot streak the last four games, making 15 3-pointers and shooting 58 percent from downtown.

"We've needed a consistent threat from outside," Ernst said. "But Rion is able to do more than that. She isn't afraid to attack the rim or make the pass to set up her teammates."

For Boyd, her shooting is all about finding the right beat.

"I think it's more of a rhythm thing," she said. "Once I hit that first one, it kind of puts me in a groove and I tell myself that I am ready to go."

Against the Lady Warriors, Purdy's quick start put the game on cruise control. The Lady Eagles were able to find valuable minutes for their bench players.

"The hard part about our geographical area and school size is that not every team has a freshman or junior varsity squad," Ernst said. "Anytime you can play down your bench and get those girls meaningful minutes on the floor, it is a blessing."

Scoring for Purdy against McAuley: Boyd, 16; Sami House, 15; Layne Skiles, 10; Desirie Ennes and Zoe Brown, 6 each; Rylee Moller, 4; Hallie Henderson, Betty Berry and Mikey Schad, 2 apiece; and Isbell Ibarra and Mckenzie Renkoski, 1 each.

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