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Lady Eagles' Grant counting on strong competition to help her reach her potential

NIXA'S LAILA GRANT makes a pass during the Pink & White Lady Classic.
NIXA'S LAILA GRANT makes a pass during the Pink & White Lady Classic.

Add elite conditioning to the list of Laila Grant’s attributes that has Nixa coach Jenny Talbert excited about her junior center’s future.

The 6-foot-2 Grant showed off stamina not usually associated with a post player during the Pink & White Lady Classic last week. In the White Division championship game, Grant played all of the second half until the final seconds, as Nixa bowed to Greenwood, Arkansas, 44-41.

“I'm not going to lie, I was very tired,” Grant said. “I knew (Talbert) kept me out there because she knew I can help our team by getting boards and playing good defense.”

Grant got better as the game went along. She collected eight points, five rebounds and two blocks. In the second half, she had six points, four boards and both her blocks.

Grant has gone from a backup who averaged 7.8 points a game and filled in more and more as last season went along to a D-I prospect. She has already received offers from Bradley and Drury.

Both Talbert and Grant are anxious to see what kind of player she will eventually become.

“Her ceiling is super high,” Talbert said. “We’re seeing glimpses every day of how incredible of a basketball player she can be.”

Grant isn’t looking for an easy route. She has proven her work ethic and wants to face the best competition to help spur her growth.

“I worked a lot over the summer, in the pre-season and now,” Grant said. “I feel like if I keep pushing myself and we keep having harder games, I can become so much better and help this team go far. We can win Districts and go to State and I can continue to grow.”