January 29, 2016

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – The best way to describe reserve guard Haley Darnell might be quiet or mild-mannered, but her coaches and teammates might prefer “instant offense.”

The John A. Logan College sophomore is averaging nine points a game despite limited minutes. She also leads the team in three-point accuracy (37 percent) and free-throw percentage (80.4).

The Goreville High School graduate has adjusted well to the collegiate game and has been instrumental in building a successful season as the Vols stood 15-4 overall, 9-2 in the Great Rivers Athletic Conference, going into Saturday’s slate of games.

Darnell does more than shoot the ball effectively. She can handle the ball against pressure defense, has yanked down 3.4 rebounds a game and also averages two steals and 1.6 assists.

“I have really enjoyed this season much more than last,” Darnell said. “It makes so much difference when you’re winning more than you’re losing.”

The Vols finished 13-15 a year ago and everyone on the entire roster eligible to return to the team this year left the school for various reasons…with the exception of Darnell.

“Believe me, I’m glad I stayed. I never considered quitting or transferring,” the sophomore said. “There was a little too much drama with last year’s team. This team is completely different. I think we have good chemistry because we care about one another and because our main focus is winning. We hate to lose, which is why we will fight to the very end.”

Darnell, who someday hopes to study veterinary science, said she set no personal goals for herself this season.

“Nothing other than playing hard and trying to give my best,” she said. “If this is to be my last year playing basketball, I don’t want to have any regrets. Logan has been a very good fit for me. I couldn’t be happier with my decision to come here. And Coach Shelby deserves a lot of credit. She did a great job of recruiting the team that we have.”

Shelby said Darnell has been a steadying influence with the ballclub.

“Haley has been a solid player both years. She can knock down the three or take it to the rim.  She may not be the vocal leader on the floor, but leads by example and gets the job done.”

Shelby said Darnell has embraced her reserve guard role.

“Haley has done a great job stepping right into the flow. There is no drop off when she comes into the game. She wanted her sophomore year to be better than her freshman year and she sure has helped us immensely in getting to 15-4. Not only is she a solid player for us, she is a getting it done in the classroom.  Haley's future is bright no matter what she pursues.”