It's going to be different for April Steele not to see Quanda Ball on the wing on a basketball court.
The Richmond Academy duo joined teammate Kristy Scott in signing basketball scholarships on Wednesday. Ball signed with Division I William & Mary, Steele with junior college Gulf Coast (Fla.) Community College and Scott with Division II North Carolina Central.
All three were part of Richmond Academy's 1997 Class AAA girls' state championship team. Steele and Ball also helped Curtis Baptist win a Georgia Independent Schools' Association Class AAA state title in 1995-96. Richmond Academy went 51-6 with a state title in the past two years.
"It's going to be different not having her around," said Steele of Ball. "We've been playing together since seventh grade at Morgan Road (Middle School) and she knows how to catch my passes."
Steele was a first team all-area selection by The Augusta Chronicle this year, while Ball and Scott were part of the second team.
Josey star Sherika Wright, The Augusta Chronicle's Player of the Year and the state's top player, will join Steele at Gulf Coast Community College, based in Panama City, Fla. Wright led Josey to the Class AAA state title this season.
Both Wright and Steele are point guards, but Steele feels the two can co-exist in the same backcourt. The two point guards did play together on an Augusta AAU team in the summer of 1996.
"We hope to win a national junior college title together," said Steele of her and Wright. "Whoever gets the ball first will bring it down."
Ball admits that she was worried that schools would back off after she injured her knee against Josey in the Region 3-AAA championship game and missed the state playoffs. The small forward tore her anterior cruciate ligament and a partial medial collateral ligament in her knee.
Ball is in rehabilitation at University Hospital once a week. She feels she will be able to play contact basketball in early July and will be able to participate in fall drills at William & Mary when basketball practice starts on Oct. 15 in Williamsburg, Va.
She chose William & Mary over Armstrong State, Ga. College & State and Fort Valley State.
"Yeah, I was worried a little bit," said Ball of her knee injury and losing a scholarship offer. "I'm working on it and hopefully I will comeback at 100 percent. They still wanted to give me a scholarship."
Scott, a shooting guard, chose North Carolina Central, based in Durham, N.C., after making a visit on April 24. Scott had the best game of her career in the team's 72-49 win at Josey on Jan. 10. She scored 19 points, including five 3pointers, in Josey's only on-court loss of the season.
"I went up there and met the players, coaches and looked around the school and I really liked it," Scott said. "Paine (College) showed some interest in me but I wanted to get out of Georgia."
All three players said they are going to miss the rivalry they had with Josey in high school. All three had their moments in the great rivalry that saw both teams win a Class AAA state championship -- Richmond Academy in 1997 and Josey in 1998.
The highlight of their careers was the 1997 Class AAA state title.
"Last year's state championship?," Scott said. "That was it (the highlight of her career). I'll miss the people here and the fun we had."
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