Switching it Up: Senior transfers from Blue Valley West to BV for basketball program, teaching staff

Raine Andrews, Photo Editor

Making her way from Blue Valley West, senior Haley Ballard transferred to BV last year for better opportunities.
Ballard said she has played various sports when she was younger but decided to focus on basketball in middle school.
“I started playing basketball in the first grade,” she said. “I played soccer, softball and basketball up until seventh grade,” she said. “Then, my mom told me it was time to decide [on] one. So, ever since eighth grade, I have only played basketball.”
Opposite of common misconception, Ballard said she came to BV for the academics.
“I didn’t just transfer for basketball — I transferred for school because the physics and math teachers here are better than the ones at [BV] West,” she said. “I want to either study Pre-Medical or Computer Science [in college], so I have to be strong in math and science.”
During the her sophomore and junior years, the Jaguars didn’t win a single game, ending with a 0-14 record both years.
“I wasn’t going to put my senior season through that, so I started looking at transferring,” she said. “I have always had [coming to BV] in the back of my mind. I used to always go to BV basketball camps with [senior] Sydnie [Hanson], and I always loved [former coach [Andy] Unrein. [But,] I never had the guts to [transfer].”
Hanson said she looks forward to Ballard joining the team.
“She will be an amazing point guard for us and she will bring positive energy and just be an all around great player,” she said.
Hanson said Ballard has a lot to offer and will be a huge asset to the team.
“She is competitive, but in a good way,” she said. “She loves the game more than anyone I know, and she works so hard to be the best player that she can be. At practice, she is always very positive and uplifting towards everyone. She never gets frustrated with us and she is always finding ways to make us better [as a team]. She is a great teammate and I am so lucky to have her.”
After shadowing a few BV students for a day, Ballard said she began to set things up.
“My mom went and talked to District [Office], and I had to get a form and have it signed by all my BV West teachers [and] an administrator,” she said. “I did that all on a Tuesday and then came to BV on Wednesday.”
With Unrein leaving BV for an assistant principal position at Truman High School in the Independence, Mo., School District, English teacher Ryan Mahoney took his place as coach of the girls varsity basketball team.
“At the time I didn’t know who [was] the [new] coach,” she said. “Once they said Mahoney was the coach, I was perfectly fine with it.”
Ballard said there is a huge difference between the participation in the basketball program at BV West and BV.
“There are a lot of people [at workouts and open gyms], and at [BV] West, there would only be four or five people at open gym,” she said. “Here, we have enough to scrimmage.”
Ballard said she will be attending Oklahoma Baptist University next year.
“I have already picked my college,” she said. “I picked it not based off basketball, but if I get the opportunity to play [basketball] there, then I will.”
Ballard said basketball will always be her favorite sport.
“The feeling I [get] when I am on the court just is different [from] any other sport,” she said. “[When] I played soccer and softball, it felt more like a job rather than a hobby or something I really enjoyed. I enjoyed soccer and softball, but my love was definitely with basketball.”