Article by Rob Kiser Sports Editor of the Piqua Daily Call
When Lourdes University women's basketball coach John Kenger and his team played Edison State Community College in a pre-season scrimmage, he got a lot more out of it than he may have anticipated.
In fact, Edison State sophomores Lauryn Gray (Piqua) and Kailani Broyles and Kaylesha Broyles (Massillon Washington) got his attention so much, he was there Friday as the trio signed letters of intent to play for Lourdes University next season.
"That (the scrimmage) is when we first saw them," Kenger said. "We talked about the direction we wanted to go with our team. We followed them during the season and saw the numbers they were putting up. That showed that what we saw that day was no fluke. They did it game after game."
For Tim McMahon, it was a rewarding moment after the trio helped the Chargers to a record 25-6 season.
"They (Lauryn Gray, Kailani Broyles, and Kaylesha Broyles) didn't have that opportunity (to go to a four-year school) out of high school," McMahon said. "Now, they have that opportunity. Recruits are asking me all the time, 'Will I be able to play after my two years at Edison State.?' This just shows that yes, you can."
Gray, a 5-10 wing/post, has made great strides over the last two seasons after playing at Piqua High School for one year after moving in.
After averaging 3.8 points and 3.9 rebounds as a freshman, she jumped those numbers to 9.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.8 assists as a sophomore.
"Even my first year gave me a lot of confidence," Gray said. "Lourdes was the best opportunity for me and I am excited about the opportunity."
McMahon didn't mince words about Gray.
"She is the most improved player I have coached," he said. "She came to me as an athlete and is leaving as a basketball player."
The Broyles sisters create excitement every time they step on the floor, whether it is forcing mistakes by the other team or creating transition opportunities at the offensive end.
Kailani, a 5-6 guard, was an honorable mention All-OCCAC selection both years.
She averaged 10.7 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 2.3 assists as a freshman and increased those numbers to 12.7 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.7 assists as a sophomore.
"She (Kaylesha) is always following me —- I tried to get away from her, but she always follows," Kailani said with a laugh. "We always hoped we would be able to play somewhere else (when they finished at Edison)."
Kaylesha averaged 5.5 points, 1.9 rebounds, and 1.7 assists as a freshman and improved to 7.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists as a sophomore.
"I think it is going to help a lot with the three of us being at the same place," Kaylesha said. "We became really close here at Edison State."
McMahon is not surprised by the two guards' success.
"I thought there was a good chance (they could move on to a higher level)," McMahon said. "You can coach speed. They make things happen on the floor with their pressure and their speed."
And Kenger is happy to have all three.
"We are looking to get a little more uptempo," he said. "Lauryn (Gray) does a great job both working towards the basket and away from it and has shown a lot of leadership. They (Kailani and Kaylesha Broyles) just put a lot of pressure on the other team, both on offense and defense, with their speed and quickness."
And the trio is excited to be making the next stop together.
"We started this journey together as freshman at Edison State," Gray said. "I am just really happy we are going to be able to continue this journey together."
After a pre-season scrimmage set things in motion.
Piqua Daily Call Sports Editor Rob Kiser can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org