Defense was Gunter duo's calling card

Jason Della Rosa
Herald Democrat
Gunter's Nyah Ingram (top) signed to play volleyball for NCTC while Taylor Boddie signed to play basketball for Newman University.

GUNTER — They shared the same space with similar roles on the same court but in different seasons.

Defense was the name of the game for Nyah Ingram and Taylor Boddie. There were kills and points to be scored but these two went about their business in a different way.

Ingram served as a libero for the volleyball team while Boddie was a guard who made life miserable for Gunter’s basketball opponents.

Their skill-sets in those areas were quite desirable and Ingram signed to play for North Central Texas College while Boddie signed with Newman University.

Ingram chose the junior college program over St. Andrews University in North Carolina.

“Being 45 minutes from home was a big thing. I was getting to play volleyball at a high level and succeed academically as well,” she said. “I know a lot of the girls and know they will push me. The program is amazing.”

Boddie chose the Division II program over Bethel College and North American University in Houston.

She had originally committed to Bethel, an NAIA school, before head coach Drew Johnson was hired to lead Newman. He still wanted Boddie to join his roster, no matter where it was.

“I really wanted to go to Bethel because of the coaching staff,” Boddie said. “They called a couple days after they got the job and said they wanted me to go with them.”

Ingram has been a key piece along the back row during the best stretch in program history where the Lady Tigers made the region tournament all four years with three appearances in the region final.

Gunter earned a spot in the Class 3A state semifinals for the first time this past fall, finishing with a 29-4 record and losing to eventual champion Bushland.

“When you work really hard for something to happen — it was our time to be at state. If we got better every year and stayed consistent we knew it would happen,” Ingram said. “I had a great four years. I’m very, very sad it’s over.”

Ingram finished her career with a school-record 1,900 digs.

This past season Ingram collected 457 digs to go with 45 aces and earned a bevy of honors — a 3A third-team all-state pick by the Texas Sports Writers Association, an all-state selection by the Texas Girls Coaches Association and the 11-3A Defensive Player of the Year.

During her junior year, Ingram was the 9-3A Defensive Player of the Year after totaling 698 digs, which set the program’s single-season record, and 71 aces.

As a freshman, she earned honorable mention all-district accolades.

NCTC went 11-3 overall and 8-2 in North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference action during a condensed spring season and the Lady Lions made the NTJCAC Tournament title match before losing against Hill, which they finished second to in the conference standings as well. The program won the conference title in 2019.

Van Alstyne’s Lindi Boling was the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year as a freshman.

Boddie spent all four seasons on the varsity roster with her senior year the most successful as she helped the Lady Tigers to a 26-6 record and advance to the region final for the first time since 2002 before losing to state semifinalist Ponder.

“I’m glad we put our basketball program back on a winning track and back on the map,” Boddie said. “It means a lot.”

She averaged 7.8 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.2 steals and was a second-team all-district selection in 11-3A as the Lady Tigers went undefeated in district action. But her contributions were something not measured in her stats.

“I think early in my high school career I knew I wasn’t a big-time scorer,” she said. “Defense is something I can control with my effort and be locked in on it. I’m very aggressive, some would say.”

Boddie was a second-team all-district pick as a junior and as a sophomore she was an honorable mention all-district selection.

Boddie has also been a multi-year starter for the Gunter softball team at shortstop. She was second-team all-district as a sophomore and first-team all-district this past spring.

Newman University, which is located in Wichita, Kan., went 4-18, both overall and in Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association play, this past season.

In 2019-19 the Jets went 21-10 and reached the MIAA Tournament title game before losing to Lubbock Christian.

The program, which moved up from the NAIA ranks in 2006, last made the NCAA Division II Tournament in 2012 as part of back-to-back Heartland Conference titles.