SHANNON FAGAN: Sand Rock’s Katelyn St.Clair the blueprint of success

Sand Rock senior shooting guard shoots a free throw late in the Lady Wildcats’ Northeast Regional semifinal game against Ider on Friday in Jacksonville. Photo by Shannon Fagan.

JACKSONVILLE – With a little over a minute remaining in the fourth quarter of Sand Rock’s Class 2A Northeast Regional 63-51 loss to Ider early Friday evening, head coach Lisa Bates subbed in for senior shooting guard Katelyn St.Clair.

After St.Clair made a pair of free throws with 1:05 remaining, one of the state’s most prolific high school basketball scorer’s career had another sport officially come to a close.

Hustling off to the Lady Wildcat bench in tears, she was met by Bates, who hugged St.Clair for a few moments. It was a gesture of thanks, not only for what she did this season, but for her entire high school career.

It was a career that saw her score over 2,200 points, joining her brother, Arkansas State guard Jacob St.Clair, as the only brother-sister duo to reach the 2,000-point milestone in AHSAA history.

It was also a career that saw St.Clair help the Lady Wildcats finish as state runner-up in volleyball last season for the first time in school history. As an outside hitter last year, St.Clair collected 909 kills, 474 digs, 82 aces, 28 blocks and 11 assists.

“Katelyn is a special athlete in every sport she does,” Bates said, who also coached St.Clair in volleyball. “She puts everything into everything she does. She was tremendous for us in volleyball and key for us in basketball. It means a lot to her.”

And so did Friday night’s regional loss, in which St.Clair had guided the Lady Wildcats to their first appearance at Jacksonville State’s Pete Mathews Coliseum since 2020. She led the Lady Wildcats (25-7) with 19 points.

Moments after it was over, St.Clair said she wished it could’ve lasted longer.

“I felt like we could’ve beat them,” she said. “When we battled back (in the first half), I felt like we could’ve gotten a few more stops and gone ahead, but we didn’t execute our game plan. Obviously we ended up with a loss.”

It’s a loss that stings right now, but it won’t take away from what St.Clair has accomplished throughout her career, and for what’s to come.

St.Clair is also a key softball player for the Lady Wildcats. A shortstop/second baseman, St,Clair earned a second team spot last year on the Alabama Sports Writers Association All-State Team as a designated hitter. She batted .383 with 14 doubles, five home runs, four triples, 19 walks, 57 runs and 36 RBIs.

“She’ll do well in softball next,” Bates said. “She’s meant a lot to Sand Rock. She cares about Sand Rock and loves Sand Rock. She works at it and puts a lot of hours into it.”

There’s no doubt St.Clair has left a legacy for future athletes to follow, not just at Sand Rock, but across the state.

“It means a lot to know I’ll be remembered for many things,” St.Clair said. “The little girls who look up to me, who see how hard I work, they can do it too. It’s not impossible.”

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