SIKESTON - Recent Sikeston High School graduate Summer Ray signed a letter of intent to play basketball at Shawnee Community College in Ullin, Ill.
Ray will attend Shawnee on a full scholarship, including books, tuition and fees.
Sikeston head coach Lee Brooks said he thinks Ray will be able to contribute immediately at Shawnee.
"Coach (Mike) Ulen came and watched her play a couple of times and he saw that she was the catalyst of the offense and defense," said Brooks. "He said the reason he signed her was not only her abilities, but he told me personally that she could be one of the leaders of his team."
Ray helped lead the Lady Bulldogs to one of its best seasons ever, finishing second in the district tournament with a 16-10 record.
As the team's point guard and vocal leader, Ray played an integral part in defeating top-seeded Doniphan 56-51 in the district semifinals, one of the Lady Bulldogs' biggest wins in school history.
"I knew from the beginning Summer wanted to do something special by the time she graduated," said Brooks. "She is such a competitor. Summer is small in stature but big in effort. There was not one day when she came to a game or practice that she wasn't ready to play. She inspired and drove everybody else to be better. She was the leader of the team."
Ray averaged six points per game and was one of the top defensive players on the team, recording 32 steals.
Brooks says statistics don't tell the story with Ray, stating her true value can't be shown on a stat sheet.
So how will the Lady Bulldogs replace Ray?
"I can't -- there's no replacing Summer," said Brooks. "I told her I wish I had her back for another year. She's such a tough leader. That's what Sikeston has been missing all these years, is a leader. Hopefully she'll work with some of the people coming up and show them how to lead. She was the reflection of what I wanted done on the floor. I'm going to struggle this year trying to fill her shoes."