Izzy Gallant and Celine Ives have always been comfortable in their roles on the Providence Day girls’ basketball team.
Their contributions don’t always jump off the stat sheet. The Providence Day senior guards have been four-year varsity players and played a critical role in helping the Chargers win a state championship in each of their first three seasons.
Ives, a three-year starter at small forward who averages 1.8 points, 2.5 assists, 2.4 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game, is the team’s defensive stopper and has led the Chargers in charges taken and deflections.
Gallant, who starts at shooting guard, is in her first year as a full-time starter. She averages 2.4 points, 3.9 assists (team-best) and 1.6 steals per game. Most of her career she has served as the team’s sixth man.
Providence Day’s all-state duo – Janelle Bailey and Erin Whalen – usually get most of the attention. But Gallant and Ives are content to do all the things that help the team win.
“With both Celine and Izzy, you always know what you are going to get as far as players who are highly fundamental and going to play within themselves,” said Providence Day girls’ basketball coach, Josh Springer, who has guided his Chargers team to seven NCISAA 3A state championships. “They are the type of players who are perfectly happy to do all the little things within a game that no one else really wants to do. Whether it’s Celine setting a flare-screen to get Erin open for a three-pointer or Izzy passing up a wide-open three-pointer to find Janelle for a layup. They always seem to make the high IQ basketball play at the right time.”
Ives and Gallant were comfortable in their roles from the start.
“I remember when Izzy and I were freshman and we were happy just to be getting the water bottles for the older players,” Ives said. “Ever since then we have just embraced the roles we’ve played on this team no matter what it is. We don’t always score a lot of points, but there’s a lot more to winning basketball games than just scoring points.”
Springer says one play in each of Ives’ and Gallant’s careers encapsulates everything his senior duo is about.
For Ives, the play came in her sophomore year in the state championship game against Greensboro Day. Providence Day was up 30 points with 38 seconds left, when Ives took a charge and was run over, only to bounce right back up and go about her business.
For Gallant, the defining play came when she was a freshman guard in the NCISAA 3A state semifinals against Cary Academy. The Chargers were down 19-12 with one minute left in the third quarter. “Couldn’t buy a basket,” Springer said.
Gallant entered the game and immediately hit a jumper that sparked the team on an 18-2 run and helped Providence Day win.
“I definitely remember that game and that shot,” Gallant said. “I remember Josh (Springer) telling me that if I got an open shot to take it. I didn’t shoot a lot as a freshman so I was nervous. But I shot the ball and it went in and we went on a huge run. It felt good to step up for my team.”
Springer said “Both of those plays really define what Providence Day girls’ basketball is all about.
“We have had so many good role players over the years, that have sacrificed individual numbers to help our team be successful, and Izzy and Celine are great examples,” Springer said.
Gallant and Ives also have been champions at Providence Day in other sports.
Gallant won a state title with the tennis team in 2012 and played No. 3 singles and No. 2 doubles last year. Ives is a two-time state champion with the soccer team (2013, 2014). She also is an all-state field hockey player.
But now Gallant and Ives are focused on basketball, with a state title as the goal. The Chargers have won 10 of the past 11 state titles, and 15 championships since 1982.
Ives will attend UNC-Chapel Hill next year, but not as a basketball player. Gallant has not made a college choice.
“Coach Springer is always telling us he is hard on us for a reason,” Ives said. “I look back at all the little lessons that he’s taught us. Most of what we’ve learned doesn’t just apply to the basketball court. It applies to everything we will do for the rest of our lives.”
Jay Edwards is a freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.