A closer look at our boys and girls players of the week:
Sager Cavalier, Alonso
Stationed underneath the basket, the 6-foot-4 Cavalier pushes and presses until his opponent is out of the paint. After bullying his way for prime post-up position, Cavalier then turns and drops the ball in the net as casually as if he were placing a book on a shelf.
“During games, you have to be tough,” Cavalier said. “On the court, kindness equals weakness.”
The Alonso senior’s demeanor is completely different away from the court. He embodies all the characteristics of his first name, which means to be smart and kind in French Creole.
Most of his relatives are from Haiti, nearly all of whom continue to speak French Creole. Cavalier is the only one affluent in English.
He also became the first in the family to play sports. At first, it was football. By fourth grade, he concentrated solely on basketball at Faith Outreach Academy.
Already the tallest among his classmates, Cavalier often played varsity, even in elementary school.
Once he reached sixth grade, he started attending public schools.
“I just wanted a different environment,” Cavalier said.
At Alonso, he has been a fixture in the starting lineup. Last year, he had 30 points and 12 rebounds to help the Ravens beat Sarasota Riverview for their first district title in school history.
The points continued to pile up. This past week, he reached 1,000 for his career against Wharton.
That was not the only memorable moment from that game. Cavalier also tipped the ball in for the winning basket as the buzzer sounded, lifting Alonso to its second win ever against Wharton.
“It feels like every day we’re making history with this program,” Cavalier said. “It’s a once-in-a-generation team.”
Cavalier’s success has inspired other family members to follow his path in basketball.
Now, he wants to take it to the next level in college.
“There’s interest from schools so far,” Cavalier said. “It’s hard to land a scholarship, but I’m confident I’ll be playing in college next year.”
Carly Price, Alonso
As the daughter of a coach, Price has spent plenty of time in a gym. Her father, Todd, is the boys coach at Alonso and she followed him to most practices and games.
She has been shooting a basketball as long as she can remember. That showed last week in a game against Gaither. Price hit nine 3-pointers in the 55-21 win to set a school record. The previous record of eight was held by Angel Golden and Jacqueline LeVay.
“It’s a pretty cool record to have,” Price said. “Especially considering the players who had the record.”
A 5-foot-4 junior point guard, Price learned early on that she had to be a shooter to survive on the basketball court. After six players graduated from last year’s 22-3 team, Price stepped into the leadership role and has helped the Ravens to a 14-5 record so far.
If she starts making baskets, her teammates know to keep feeding her the ball.
“I’d been shooting pretty well,” Price said. “My teammates knew I was hot so they kept getting me the ball.”
She said she had no idea she set a school record. It wasn’t until the next day that she found out.
“I knew I made a lot but I didn’t know it was nine,” she said. “I was told about it the next day at school.”
Price has been on the Alonso varsity since she was a freshman. With another year to go, she has plenty more games to break her own mark. She knows she will be the focus of opponents for the rest of the season, but she feels prepared.
“I’m confident in how I’m playing right now,” Price said. “My teammates have done a good job of finding me when I’m open. And if I’m double-teamed then somebody else will be open.”