Two-sport success: Palisade’s Davis showing she can play hoops, too
Flannery Davis is going against the grain.
The Palisade High School junior excels on the soccer field, scoring 37 goals in her first two seasons and playing on a competitive team based in Denver.
But instead of focusing solely on soccer, Davis traded her soccer cleats for basketball shoes.
Davis has been a main contributor for the Palisade girls basketball team this season after a two-year absence.
“I played basketball when I was younger, 7th and 8th grade, so that was the experience I had,” she said. “But this summer I decided I really wanted to play because I’ve always loved basketball.”
Dribbling with her hands instead of her feet has given Davis another outlet for her competitive nature.
“I’ve been playing soccer my whole life, and I love it, but it’s nice to do something else especially when you are a competitor,” Davis said. “I did a lot of work in the summer to get ready and was working on my shot a lot.”
Palisade coach Toni Gunther welcomed Davis with open arms. The Bulldogs lacked team athleticism the past couple seasons so adding someone like Davis has improved the overall skill of the team.
“Flannery has been fantastic,” Gunther said. “We enjoy her competitiveness and athleticism. She’s always giving her best effort, which is contagious.”
Certain aspects of basketball came back instantly to Davis.
“The defense has been the easiest part,” she said. “It’s similar to soccer where you just have to keep someone in front of you.”
Gunther said Davis’ speed is crucial in Palisade’s press.
“I’m pleased how she’s picked it up,” Gunther said. “She is really key in our press because she has such good aggressiveness.”
Davis has started this season for the Bulldogs, but has mostly been a key reserve guard off the bench. Davis said she was planning on joining the basketball team her freshman year, but committed to an elite soccer team based out of Utah.
This season, Davis is managing to do both. The Rush has practices on Sunday, which Davis attends. She had to miss the Bulldogs’ first three games for a soccer tournament in North Carolina, and will miss Palisade’s final home game against Battle Mountain for a tournament in Phoenix.
“I made sure to make my commitments wisely and I told the (Palisade) coaches that I was going to still be playing soccer,” Davis said. “They said we still want you on the team.”
One big reason Gunther is willing to allow Davis to have the flexibility to play both sports is because she’s the type of player the third-year coach craves.
“She picks up the intensity for everyone,” Gunther said. “We talk all the time about having heart and perseverance and she helps with that because she’s had success in soccer and it’ll carry over to basketball.”