There has been plenty of eyes on the rising talent in the Wetumpka girls basketball program and for good reason. A lot of production is set to return next season but coach Jermel Bell said none of the future success would be possible without the work done by seniors Amber Dye and Breanna Toles.
“They mean a lot to the program,” Bell said. “When they started in the ninth grade to today, they have gotten better and better. They work hard every day. We have had our ups and downs along the way but everything they have done, we saw it come together this year.”
The two seniors were honored Friday night after their final regular-season home game, a 73-44 to Park Crossing. Toles finished with six points and four rebounds while Dye contributed five points.
“It means a lot to us,” Toles said. “I worked a lot to get to this point. I have been looking forward to my senior year and this is why I played basketball. It’s nice to see how far we have come as a team.”
Despite the defeat, both players said it was a memorable night to spend another home game with their teammates. Dye called the team a sisterhood and said they have grown closer together this season so Friday night was filled with bittersweet moments.
“It was a good feeling to get to play here one last time but it’s very emotional,” Dye said. “I just want to be remembered by how hard I work and how dedicated I was to basketball.”
Dye’s biggest impact on the court came from beyond the arc as she was one the team’s most efficient 3-pointer shooters. She knocked down one from the corner Friday off an assist from Angel Knight in the first quarter.
“That shot that she has now, she has worked on it so much,” Bell said. “We told her we want her to be the shooting specialist. That’s what we want her to do and she had the green light night in and night out. When she’s set, it’s going in.”
Toles was rarely at the top of the scoresheet for Wetumpka but she made an impact on and off the court. Toles said she wants to be remembered by her dedication and motivation in practices and Bell said there was no doubt she will be.
“All of the girls looked up to the seniors but especially Breanna,” Bell said. “There is no one that will work harder than her and when you set the bar that high, the other kids strive for that.”
As the season comes to a close, it will be difficult for the seniors to step away for good. Toles said she will come back every chance she gets and she expects to see a lot more wins over the next few years.
“I want to push my teammates to get better and that’s what I like to see,” Toles said. “It’s about that progress. I look forward to coming back next year and seeing them play.”