THE GRIND: Ansley Carver, Forsyth Central Varsity Basketball
Ansley Carver knows it’s not the most original answer, but it also makes plenty of sense.
The Forsyth Central junior, like countless other high school basketball players, idolizes Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry. And in Carver’s case, the two probably share more of a resemblance than most. Both have somewhat unusual shots: Curry’s is a single fluid motion, with no hitch from catch to release, and Carver’s uses both of her hands, very much against shooting orthodoxy. Multiple coaches have tried to change it, but Carver’s familiarity won out.
“I had already been practicing and shooting all the time,” Carver said. “So I just decided to keep it the way it was.”
And both players are evidence of the belief that motivates Carver in practice and training: Reps are more important than form. When she started specializing in basketball in middle school, she would go to the gym almost every day with her father, putting up 500 shots or more each time.
“It’s repetitive, but I know that’s what you’ve got to do to be good,” Carver said.
It’s certainly paid off for Carver. The Bulldogs shooting guard has become one of the most dangerous shooters in the county and the most reliable offensive weapon for a Central team that has been on a consistent upward climb since winning just one game in 2016-17. Last season, Carver had eight three-pointers in the Bulldogs’ win on Jan. 15 over Milton, setting a school record, and this season, she’s already hit five or more threes in a game thrice.
“Ansley can almost raise her eyebrows and people start running at her at this point, because they know she’s such a great shooter,” Bulldogs head coach Angela Hurt said.
Carver knows that she doesn’t want long-range shooting to be the only useful part of her game, of course. This season, she’s been focusing on getting faster and improving on defense, and she’s also taken advantage of defenders crashing hard, anticipating her shot: Now Carver is more apt to put the ball on the floor and drive, where she’s likely to drive a foul and drain both shots.
Carver was one of the many young players that arrived last season and helped start Central’s ascent. But as satisfying as the program’s improvement – from one to 11 wins – was, they’re also still stung by the close loss to West Forsyth in the region tournament, which left the Bulldogs a game away from a state playoff berth.
“We don’t talk about it much,” Carver said. “But we all have it deep inside of us, that we know how important that was.”
And should the Bulldogs reverse that disappointment this year, Carver will likely be one of the main reasons why.