Monday, February 22, 2010

Don Bovaird of Girard Alliance has passion for game of basketball

By Bob Healy

John Sargent believes his standout basketball guard plays beyond his years.

That may be because of the company he keeps.

For the last few summers, Don "Dee" Bovaird of the Girard Alliance Christian Academy has spent a good amount of time playing basketball at the playgound courts in Girard Borough.

His teammates and opponents in the pickup games have included such former Girard High School players as Coltin Ferrick, D.J. Green, Mike Droll, and Jeff McDonald.

"I'm up at the courts a lot just trying to get in some practice and to get my game perfected as much as I can," said Bovaird, who is in his senior year at GACA. Playing with the older guys helps my game a lot, especially my defense. Defense is the key to playing basketball."

That experience has paid dividends.

"Don plays the game much older than he really is. He's a much more mature player," said Sargent, head coach of the Girard Alliance Boys' team. "He loves the game. He's eager to go at all times. He reads the court like an older guy, a college player, would. Most players his age don't have the experience he has. He's really focused. He's not just out there running up and down the court. He either knows what he wants to do or he's planning what to do."

Bovaird has been a tremendous scoring threat throughout his four years at Girard Alliance. He recently surpassed the 1,000-point career-scoring milestone for the Lions.

But he wasn't always such a firm advocate of defense being the key to playing basketball.

"He has always done really well shooting, but he had struggled with his defense the last few years," Sargent said. "He's really been working on that over the past year and has picked up on that. He's really become an all-around ball player."

While Bovaird has had to work on improving his defensive skills, other facets of the game have come more naturally.

"His jumping ability is just phenomenal," Sargent said. "People are amazed at just how high he can jump. Because he can get so high in the air, it's sometimes hard to stop him from scoring. He's also a left-hander which makes it tough to play against."

Basketball has been almost a lifelong passion for Bovaird. According to his father, also Don, Dee began playing the game at the age of five.

"I love the game. I love the teamwork," Bovaird said.

Bovaird played his junior varsity ball in seventh and eighth grade at Cranseville Christian Academy . When that closed, he transferred to Girard Alliance and became a starter for the Lions' varsity team in his freshman year.

This year, Bovaird is averaging 21.4 points per game for the Lions who are 11-6 overall and 8-1 in the New York / Penn League.

"Playing at a Christian school has its ups and downs," Bovaird said. "On the plus side, we have a good basketball program at our school. I have friends and teammates that I can share the experience with. There is a good Godly atmosphere here that helps me make the right decisions."

On the downside, small Christian schools hardly draw the attention afforded their larger public and parochial counterparts.

"Dee would like to get a shot at being able to play in college," Sargent said. "Unfortunately, we don't get a whole lot of scouts out here. Donny would be a good catch for anyone interested."

Basketball or not, Bovaird is considering taking physical therapy in college.

"Since I've taken health classes, it's interested me -- the muscles and how the human body works," Bovaird said.

Maybe in the future, he can explain his jumping ability.

February 4, 2010

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