Celeste Davis, a member of the girls' basketball team at Severna Park High School in Anne Arundel County, has been named the U.S. Army Impact Player of the Month for December.
Davis, a senior who plays point guard for the Falcons, was nominated for the award by Severna Park's head girls' basketball coach, Lisa Magness.
"Celeste suffered a major concussion last year and lost half of her junior season and was unable to play for her AAU team," Magness wrote in her nomination. "She has returned for her senior season and has worked hard to get back on the floor and lead the Falcons as the point guard."
A four-year member of Severna Park's varsity team, Davis has developed a reputation for being extremely competitive and having a tremendous team-first attitude.
Davis hasn't been discouraged to continue to play hard despite her long injury layoff this past year, which happened before a game during warmups when a teammate's shot went off the rim and hit Davis in the head, knocking her to the floor.
In fact, Magness said Davis has come back an even stronger player because she took the time to learn more about basketball while she was sidelined. Davis spent a lot of time watching YouTube videos to get advice on ball handling and shooting form so she could better her technique in both areas.
"During games and practices, I would watch everyone because I could see things you couldn't see on the floor. It's helped me a lot. I see more open players and do a better job of getting my teammates the ball, which is really important being a point guard," Davis said. "It was hard to sit on the bench during our big games at the end of the year, watching my teammates play. When you're out injured you just want to get in and help."
This year, Davis has made the most of her chance to play. When the Falcons take the floor, Davis routinely contributes with gritty and effective performances. Magness praised her for never backing down from guarding an opponent's top guard, which is one of the many ways she has become an indispensable part of Severna Park's strategy on the court.
"My favorite part of basketball is defense. Getting a steal and starting a fast break is so fun and rewarding," Davis said. "Defense wins games, and if you are all-in on defense, then it makes the game so much easier. When I'm doing a good job on defense and all my teammates are encouraging me, it makes me so much happier."
Davis' play has helped Severna Park get off to a fast start this season.
The Falcons have been one of Anne Arundel County's finest thus far, registering wins against Arundel and Annapolis. The team also had a strong winter break, defeating Clarksburg and Wheaton to win the Magruder Invitational in Montgomery County.
Davis was in the middle of all the action for the Falcons during the holiday tournament, hauling in seven rebounds and dishing out three assists against Clarksburg. During the championship contest with Wheaton, Davis registered eight steals and scored five points.
"I'm very excited about how we're playing," Davis said. "The Magruder Tournament was big for us because we had gotten to the final the previous two years and lost. We pushed ourselves even more this year to make sure we didn't lose a third time in a row."
Looking ahead, Davis plans to continue her basketball career at the collegiate level after this season, but isn't sure where.
"Celeste has been a staple in our program for four years and has been a pleasure to coach," Magness said.
Issue 229: January 2017