08 Jan Dather, CCS make strides
Emily Dather and Conway Christian have made positive strides this season. After a disappointing sophomore campaign that finished with just four wins overall and only one conference win, Conway Christian (6-8, 2-1) has already surpassed both win totals this season.
“Playing through the frustration and learning to overcome the emotional aspect of the game and focusing on the next possession has been difficult,” Dather said. “But it has helped me grow as a player. It’s all about deciding how I wanted younger students to see me and choosing to live my life as a reflection of Christ.
“I want to be remembered on the court as someone who lifted others up in their lows and in their highs — someone who encouraged others through the wins and the losses.”
Dather, a junior forward for Conway Christian, was selected to this year’s 501 Basketball Team — 41 players representing the best the 501 has to offer both on and off the court. The team is sponsored by Conway Regional Health System, First Security Bank and Conway Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Center. The junior was nominated by her head coach, Trey Lynch. After averaging 8.4 points and 5.2 rebounds as a starting sophomore, Dather’s role has grown even more this season.
“Emily shines on the offensive boards,” Lynch wrote in his nomination. “She is also a good 3-point shooter and a quality defender. On offense, she will have the green light behind the 3-point line and will be counted on to create some scoring opportunities with her rebounding ability. She was forced to play out of position at times last year, but will be able to slide back into her natural role this season. Defensively, her versatility allows her to defend multiple players of various sizes and abilities.
“Emily works extremely hard on a daily basis. She is very coachable and loves to see her teammates succeed. She is a joy to coach.”
Conway Christian plays host to Pangburn on Thursday before playing cross-town rival St. Joseph on Friday night.
“The rivalry is unique,” Dather said. “It has been around for many years and is always the biggest game of the season with the largest crowd. The students between the two schools have always had a special friendship, so we always look forward to playing them.
“It will take us playing to our strengths with confidence and using what we have to its full potential to beat St. Joseph. It takes every single player to give 100 percent and work as a team in order to perform successfully.”
Dather has been a multi-sport athlete since an early age. In addition to basketball, she plays volleyball, softball and tennis for Conway Christian.
“My mother played basketball at South Dakota State,” Dather said. “My family had always played sports and started us as early as possible. My parents believe sports are a good way to stay busy, learn life lessons and stay healthy. I am inspired by my family and all of the success they have achieved while glorifying God.”
Outside of athletics, Dather is involved in drama club, the Thespian Society and Future Business Leaders of America at Conway Christian. She also volunteers to help with elementary basketball games and volleyball camps. In the community, she volunteers through her church, The Rock Solid Church, helping in the kids and preschool ministry. She also volunteers with Feed My Starving Children annually and previously assisted with Soaring Wings.
“Don’t settle for anything less than who you have the potential to be,” Dather said. “You can achieve more than you think through hard work. Also, don’t let sports consume all of your time. Balance schoolwork, sports and those you love, but always keep God as the priority.”
Dather and Conway Christian return to action playing host to Pangburn at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 9.