GOODY, Ky. - Belfry forward Katie Ball has ended her college recruitment early as she verbally committed to Division I school Cleveland State University earlier this week.
Ball, who stands at 6-foot-2, chose the Vikings over offers from Division I schools Marshall and UNC Charlotte, and she also had received interest from Xavier, Ohio State and West Virginia.
Ball started her career at Mingo Central, where she played parts of three seasons for the Lady Miners and coach Brandon Ball. During her freshman season she averaged 16 points per game and helped lead Mingo Central to the first sectional championship in program history.
During her sophomore season Ball missed a handful of games with a foot injury but still averaged over 16 points a contest along with 12 rebounds, four assists and four blocks. She was named Third Team All-State at seasons end by the West Virginia Sportswriters Association and was named All-Cardinal Conference both her freshman and sophomore seasons.
Ball played in two games her junior season for Mingo Central before transferring to Belfry after her uncle and coach Brandon Ball was asked to resign as head coach of the Lady Miners.
Even though she was never ruled eligible to play in varsity action for the Lady Pirates, Belfry coach Kevin Deskins credited Ball with having a hand in their 55-49 upset win in overtime against Pike Central in the 60th District Championship game.
"Katie didn't get the opportunity to play with us this year, but I'm telling you the moment she stepped on our bench she uplifted our team," Deskins told the WDN after the district win. "Just her spirit and camaraderie, she has been the greatest teammate to these girls."
Ball said she wanted to go ahead and commit before her senior year so that she could focus on her final season as a Lady Pirate and trying to make it to the state tournament.
Combining Ball with fellow forward Kenzie "Lucy" Maynard will give the Lady Pirates the fiercest frontcourt in the entire 15th Region this year and make them a favorite in the region, which is evident by them winning the UPIKE team camp with an undefeated record over the summer.
Cleveland State is led by second year coach Chris Kielsmeier and went 10-20 a season ago. They play in the Horizon League and have qualified for the NCAA Tournament two times in the history of their program, with the first coming in 2008 and again in 2010.
Ball will give the Lady Vikings a versatile player that can be a force in the paint due to sheer size but is also skilled enough to step outside and facilitate for her teammates while also being able to knock the outside shot.
Jarrid McCormick is a sports reporter for the Williamson Daily News. He can be reached by email at jmccormick@HDMediaLLC.com.