When Jayla Davis first made her mark for St. Anne’s-Belfield girls basketball, it was as a sophomore on the defensive end of the floor where her speed made her a huge factor. Shortly thereafter, she got typecast a little. She got labeled.
“Mostly there was she has no jump shot, no offense, all she does is play defense,” Davis said.
She heard the criticism about her game and instead of ignoring it, Davis went to work.
“I just basically worked on offense,” Davis said. “I just decided I wanted to change and be the player everyone says I could be. I was constantly in the gym, working on my craft. I was making sure I could fix things that people wanted me to fix and it’s great because the hard work paid off.”
It paid off in a big way Monday when Davis committed to Sacred Heart women’s basketball program in Fairfield, Connecticut. The Division I Pioneers went 20-13 last season, falling in the Northeast Conference tournament title game and the first round of the women’s NIT.
Davis had also visited Longwood recently, but Sacred Heart made an immediate impression on the rising senior.
“The coaches were pretty amazing and when I walked on the campus it reminded me of STAB,” Davis said. “So there was an ‘at home’ feeling.”
Davis has played the last few years in a loaded STAB backcourt that includes star Bri Tinsley, the reigning Scrimmage Play player of the year, recently-graduated William and Mary-bound standout Ashley Taylor as well as a budding star in Jovia Winkey. Throw in fellow teammates like Sierra Smith and Mailynn Steppe and it’s clear why Davis has gotten better too – she gets pushed every day.
“It’s the dedication,” When you have a good group of girls and you all want to be successful, you all work together. We work hard for the same goals.”