Sand Rock’s St.Clair chooses Berry basketball

Sand Rock senior shooting guard Katelyn St.Clair signed a basketball scholarship with Berry College on Wednesday. Sitting from left is Emily St.Clair (mother), Katelyn St.Clair, and Daniel St.Clair (father). Standing from left is Sand Rock assistant girls basketball coach Tommy Baswell, Sand Rock head girls basketball coach Lisa Bates, and Sand Rock principal Ben East. Photo by Shannon Fagan.

By Shannon Fagan, WEIS Sports Director

SAND ROCK – Sand Rock three-sport standout Katelyn St.Clair said she wanted to make her senior year memorable because she knew she would never get that time back.

It’s hard to imagine her having a much better senior year.

Back in the fall, she guided the Lady Wildcat volleyball team to its first Class 2A state runner-up. In the winter, she helped Sand Rock reach the Northeast Regional in Jacksonville for the first time since 2020. Recently, St.Clair guided Sand Rock to an area softball championship against favored Fyffe, and the Lady Wildcats reached the second day of the East Softball Regional in Albertville.

On Wednesday, the most prolific athlete at Sand Rock since Taylor Burt officially put an end to high school career. She signed to play basketball at Berry College after averaging 23.7 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.5 steals for the Lady Wildcats (25-8).

It was a decision St.Clair struggled to make just because she loves every sport she’s been a part of. She had offers to play all three sports, but in the end, she said she “couldn’t let go of basketball just yet.”

“I’m excited with my decision and I think I made a good one,” she said. “It’s hard giving up softball and volleyball. I really didn’t want to, but Berry has a lot of success in basketball. I like Coach (Thomas) Johnson and the way he coaches and how he treats his girls. He holds them accountable, and I like to be held accountable. I like winning, and they do that well.”

Winning was something St.Clair did well throughout her career at Sand Rock, particularly her senior year in basketball. She finished scoring 2,262 points in her career, joining her brother, Arkansas State guard Jacob St.Clair, at the only brother-sister duo to reach the 2,000-point milestone in AHSAA history. Last season, she set school records with a 49-point outing, which included 11 3-pointers, against Glencoe. She also set the school record for best field goal percentage in that game (81%).

St. Clair also eclipsed records for free-throw percentage (86%) and most consecutive free throws (27) and was also one of three finalists for the Alabama Sports Writers Association Class 2A Player of the Year.

“She’s done some things that we’ve rarely had done here,” Sand Rock coach Lisa Bates said. “It’s not like a player like this comes along every year or two. It’s literally been 20-something years since a player has come and dominated in all three sports, since Taylor Burt did it. It’s something special to have her come through here. She is definitely a special athlete.

“We’ve been watching her since she was playing as a kindergartener and a first grader all the way through the ranks. It’s good to see somebody with loyalty stick with it here. She could’ve gone other places, but she stuck with it here and helped Sand Rock win. She loves Sand Rock.”

Bates said what separates St.Clair from all other athletes is the time she puts into each sport she plays. That’s in large part to her family, Bates said.

“It’s not just her that’s up here at the gym or on the softball field. It’s the whole family,” Bates said. “Mom (Emily) and dad (Daniel) are there rebounding for her. They toss balls to her to hit in volleyball. They pitch to her. It’s a family affair. It’s really fun to see how much they support her and they’ll continue to support her at Berry.”

St.Clair said her family has played “a huge role” in her success.

“My dad said there was a basketball in our crib from when we got home from the hospital (after being born),” St.Clair said. “I got to play with Jacob in Upward. I think us being so close in age has helped us a lot because we can compete with each other and help each other and do drills together so it doesn’t get boring at the gym. Clayton and Cooper, my little cousins, they come to the gym with us now, and I hope we can teach them to work as hard as us. I hope they’re as successful or more successful as we are.”

That’s going to be a tall order for Clayton, Cooper, or any other future Wildcat for that matter.

“When I leave, I hope they’re all like ‘I want to be a Christian like her. I want to work hard like her,’” St.Clair said. “They can have the success I’ve had if they keep God first and work as hard as I did, but working hard is the key. I spent many hours in the gym.”

Bates said it’s going to be “so weird without Katelyn” next year.

“It’s going to feel weird to play without her knowledge of the game, her intensity and her competitive spirit,” Bates said. “I don’t think it will hit me until this summer playing without her. You don’t have one like her come around very often. We’re proud she’s a Sand Rock Lady Wildcat. We feel like she’s going to represent us well and do really well at Berry.”

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