Holtsclaw good performer, leader for Lady 'Clones

By Allen LaMountain
ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR

   After two seasons of seeing nothing but the darkness of the tunnel, Lady Cyclone senior post Beth Holtsclaw can now bask in the light at the end of the tunnel.
   Holtsclaw struggled to lift a squad that won all of three games in her sophomore and junior seasons combined, but simply didn't have the players behind her to get on the right track.
   Now, in her senior season, Holtsclaw and the Lady Cyclones have lifted themselves to the upper echelon of the Watauga Conference, and that brings a smile to Holtsclaw's face just thinking about it.
   "We have grown up a lot," said Holtsclaw in the aftermath of a solid win over the Hampton Lady Bulldogs on Friday night. "We have players playing as a team now, whereas last year I felt a lot of pressure to score a lot of points. Now it's an entire team effort."
   Not that this has all come easy for Holtsclaw, as she has worked extremely hard at conditioning herself to play the amount of minutes that head coach Mike Wilson needs her to contribute to the squad.
   "Over the summer I ran every day to get in better shape," said Holtsclaw. "I know that coach Wilson needs me to have a lot of minutes on the floor and the only way I could do that was to get in top shape."
   Coach Wilson thinks Holtsclaw has done a tremendous job of that saying, "Beth plays 32 minutes a game and she couldn't do that unless she was in great physical condition. She is in great shape now, and she has worked very hard at it. I'm so happy for both Beth and Brandy Fairman who have been through the worst of it and now get to enjoy winning some games. That's very gratifying to me."
   Holtsclaw and Fairman have developed a chemistry between them that Holtsclaw says has been very beneficial to the team saying, "Brandy knows when and where to look to get me the ball. Brandy and I have been through a lot together, and we both try to provide senior leadership."
   Holtsclaw has always played well offensively -- averaging around 14 points a game -- but has really turned things up on the defensive end, and again that is where her commitment to conditioning has really paid off.
   "Beth truly wants to be the best she can be and I think she will make a very good player at the next level for a coach who takes a chance on her," said Wilson. "Obviously, outside of growing another two inches in height, she can't do much to control that. But, she has a nice shot and I think she can play on the perimeter."
   Assistant coach Lori Lyons-Wilson -- herself a standout post player in high school and college -- has helped Holtsclaw refine her game in the paint.
   "Lori works with me every day on post moves," said Holtsclaw. "She has been a tremendous help to me, especially on my footwork."
   Lyons-Wilson credited Holtsclaw with being, "Very willing to learn," said Lyons-Wilson. "We have been going over some moves like the crossover and some fakes and reverses. Beth has a lot of natural ability, but more importantly is mentally tough and very determined."
   Holtsclaw has had some interest from King College and Maryville College and wants to play college ball very much, but she says that, "I plan to go to college whether I play basketball or not. I would like to get a chance to play, but my top priority is to get my degree."
   Holtsclaw would like to study Radiology and become and X-ray technician or medical technician.