By Ray Hamill — The hard work is paying off for Eureka senior Carly Boynton.
The Loggers standout has been a busy girl on the basketball courts the past few years, putting in a lot of hours during the offseason, particularly while playing AAU basketball for the Redwood Elite.
And that extra work, Boynton says, has helped prepare her for the next challenge in her career, after she verbally committed to play at Shasta College on Monday.
“I think that really helped my teamwork,” Boynton said of playing for the Elite. “I feel like last summer I really hit the gym so hard every day with (Elite coach) Ruben Davis, and I feel like I got a lot more balanced.”
It was something Eureka High head coach Michael Harvey said he noticed from the senior leader before her final high school campaign, with Boynton going on to play a key role in leading the Loggers to a first Dick Niclai championship in 16 years.
The team’s starting center, according to the coach, was inspirational for the Loggers both on and off the court.
“She brings positive team camaraderie and she was a great influence on everybody,” Harvey said after Monday’s announcement. “She was focused on the team first, and I believe her attitude resonated with other players as well.”
Boynton says she is looking forward to college life and continuing her playing career.
“I’m excited,” she said, adding that the location is perfect for her. “It’s really not that far. I wanted to get away from home, but not seven or eight hours away.”
Boynton follows in the footsteps of a number of current Eureka seniors opting to take their athletic talents to the Redding school, including football players Josiah Graham and Antorious Bell, as well softball standout Briana Day, who verbally committed to play for the Knights this past weekend.
Boynton says she choose Shasta in part because of the academics and wants to major in dental hygiene.
“She had a lot of offers from a lot of schools, but with her major it’s a great fit for her,” Harvey said. “I’m excited for her.”
Boynton also follows in the footsteps of a former Eureka Logger, Kayla Bonomini, who starred for the Knights in basketball for two years before transferring to play at Simpson University last summer.
“They do put people in four-year schools,” Harvey said of the Knights.
Boynton hopes to continue her playing career at a four-year school herself after her time at Shasta, but says her academics will come first and it depends on whether she can find the right fit down the road.
For now, she’s focused on preparing for next season and working as much as she can to put herself in a position to succeed on the court and in the classroom.
She credits many of her coaches for helping her on her journey, including her high school coaches.
“Michael Harvey definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone,” she said. “And the new (assistant) coaches this year — Romeo Steele and Jesse Genaro — I feel like they helped our program so much. We were more of a family.”
Boynton also credits her teammates for helping her along the way and says she will remember the road trips they took together as much as anything else.
“I made wonderful friends,” she said. “Everyone on my basketball team. What’s most memorable was the travel together.
“More so since Michael Harvey took over. To be able to travel for tournaments and see the (Golden State) Warriors together and to stay at the Hilton — I’ve never stayed at a Hilton before — was just so much fun.”
The 6-foot standout says she’s not sure what position she will play for the Knights, but expects to line up at either power forward or center.
“I’m just glad to play any position,” Boynton said. “Just give me playing time.”
She joins a Shasta team that was 14-13 last winter, including a 2-8 mark in the Golden Valley Conference, and one that also featured freshman Kali Cummings-Zanotti from Arcata, who averaged 9.7 points a game in her first season with the team.