By Ray Hamill — The Corsairs have taken a big step towards putting the disappointment of last season behind them with the addition of four local players.
Ferndale’s Kyla Albee, Eureka’s Moriah Bowles, Arcata’s Olivia Railsback and Zemeiah Holifield of Eureka Community School all signed their letters of commitment at a ceremony at CR last week.
And CR head coach Jain Tuey is delighted with the additions as she looks to move on from an injury-plagued season this past year.
“We’re really excited with this group of girls we have coming in, to go with the returners we have coming back,” Tuey said. “It’s going to be a very balanced team with a high basketball IQ. They’re competitive and they want to win games.”
The versatile Albee, who played a variety of roles with the Wildcats, helped lead her high school team to a league and section championship as a junior.
Her role will be a little more refined in college and her new coach likes her competitive edge.
“She played kind of all over the court at Ferndale. She’ll definitely be more of a guard for us,” Tuey said. “We’re really excited about Kyla. She definitely had a lot of success at Ferndale and helped her team win a championship, and that’s something we need.”
In addition to her versatily, Tuey also likes Albee’s basketball IQ and believes she sees the court well.
Bowles, meanwhile, also enjoyed plenty of success at Eureka High and played a big role on back-to-back Big 5 and Dick Niclai tournament championship teams.
“She can shoot and she can create off the dribble,” Tuey said. “She’ll give us a bigger scoring role, and that’s something we lacked last season. And she’s very competitive. She’s driven. She always wants to get better.”
Railsback has been on Tuey’s radar since she was a freshman at Arcata High.
However, COVID derailed her sophomore season, she suffered a broken ankle before her junior season and opted not to play as a senior.
But Tuey was impressed with her a few years ago and liked how she competed with the CR players recently.
“She came out and played with us this spring, and she’s a really smooth point guard who sees the court well,” the coach said. “She’s also got a decent shot.”
Railsback will also play volleyball for the Corsairs.
Rounding out the new local recruits is Eureka’s Holifield, who hasn’t played high school basketball but has a big upside, according to her new coach.
“She also came out and played with us this spring, and she progressed,” Tuey said of the 6-foot-2 center. “She’s also real excited to be a part of the team and get to continue to play basketball.”
Holifield, according to Tuey, has “great hands” and will give the Corsairs a huge interior presence when she adjusts to the collegiate level.
“I’m excited to work with her and fine tune her talents,” Tuey said.
The coach also has added a few players from out of the area, and has four players expected back from last winter — Lily Shelton, Lilianna Hoban, Molly Slayton and Ronnee Norwood.