While earning awards and leading her team to championships, Hayes Bryant also earned the respect of those throughout the North Carolina Independent School Athletic Association.
Bryant was honored by Ridgecroft School for her accomplishments when she received the Golden Ram Award at the school’s athletic banquet recently. That award was well-deserved according to those who follow sports in the NCISAA.
“Her on and off the court actions have meant a lot to the NCISAA,” said Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald Analyst and NCISAA guru Mike Williams. “Hayes Bryant has been a great representative of the NCISAA.”
Williams said the 2007-2008 state basketball tournament was a prime example of the type of sport and leader Bryant was during her playing days at Ridgecroft.
“This year’s basketball tournament was a great example of how Hayes has led her team,” Williams said. “They came in as an underdog in all four games they played and went all the way to the state finals. She was the leader of that effort.”
Williams said one of the most impressive things about Bryant was her ability to play three sports through much of her career.
“It’s very unusual,” he said. “You just don’t see many three-sport athletes anymore. The feat she accomplished by playing for a state championship in each sport is major.”
He also said he was impressed with her demeanor both on the court and off.
“She never seemed to get rattled in any sport she played,” Williams said. “Her demeanor was always cool and calm. That helped her teammates look up to her as far back as her sophomore year.”
Lawrence Academy girl’s basketball coach Jack Williford said he was also impressed by Bryant’s play.
“She was extremely athletic and played hard,” he said. “She played with pain and played through her injuries very well. Her heart and mental toughness was obvious to anyone who saw her play.”
He was also impressed with Bryant’s sportsmanship.
“She always appeared to show great sportsmanship,” he said. “I think she demonstrated that with opposing players and with those on her own team.”