Carmel Valley resident Ally Deremer, Canyon Crest Academy’s two-sport star, embraces leadership role
Ally Deremer has been playing sports competitively since she was practically a toddler, already making her mark in basketball and softball before finishing middle school.
But it was during a trip to Hawaii with her Solana Beach Cats club team that she became a different kind of athlete.
Just months ahead of her freshman year at Canyon Crest Academy, she helped the Cats’ seventh-/eighth-grade team win a championship in its first appearance at the Maui Summer Classic Basketball Tournament.
At that tournament, Ally went from being just another talented player who puts points on the board — in an area where there are many others — to a leader with the ability to inspire.
“Being a leader isn’t always about telling people what to do,” she said. “A lot of the time it’s leading by example.
“There’s a lot of moments in basketball where making a silent or (seemingly) unnoticeable play — or even a noticeable play on defense or offense — helps get your team pumped up.”
It’s been impossible not to notice the difference her leadership has meant to CCA.
Ally, who will be a junior in the fall, played a key role in leading an impressive Ravens turnaround. Just two years removed from a disastrous 1-25 season, she has helped restore order to a program that as recently as the 2008-09 won the San Diego Section Division III championship.
As a freshman, she averaged 8.1 points (second on the team) and led the team with 3.4 assists as the Ravens went 11-16, culminating with a Division II playoff appearance. Last season, she led the team averaging 14 points and eight assists as the Ravens went 12-12, culminating with its first playoff win in five years.
“It was definitely a positive change for our program and it was really good to be part of the positive change in where the program is going,” she said.
Ally and the Ravens may have just been getting warmed up. They return as a young team that had no seniors last season.
“Even though we’re a young team, we’re still able to bring out the focus and intensity and just play a better level of basketball,” Ally said.
She has been instrumental in elevating the Ravens’ play, said coach Scott Tucker, noting that his star point guard has already attracted interest from several college coaches.
“She’s a very well-rounded player,” Tucker said. “She’s quick, she’s aggressive on defense, she’s got extremely good ball-handing skills and she shoots the (3-pointer) really well.”
But Tucker acknowledged that she’s more likely to land a scholarship in another sport.
Ally has also emerged as a standout defensive midfielder on the school’s lacrosse team. She was among the team’s leaders in goals (28) and assists (20) as the Ravens earlier this year went to the San Diego Section semifinals. The Ravens lost to eventual champion La Costa Canyon.
She says playing two sports helps keep her in shape throughout the year, noting that endurance, footwork and hand-eye coordination are among the key elements in both sports.
She’s managed to juggle the demands of two competitive sports while maintaining a GPA above 4.0 while taking several advanced placement classes.
“Time management has definitely has been one of the most important things,” she said. “In some ways, having a sport every day helps me manage my time, because I know I have to get things done. I go to practice, I come home and I do my homework; everything’s on a set schedule, so I kind of get my work done better that way.”
Ally has gotten the job done despite some adversity, Tucker said, observing that she plays without complaint, whether she’s facing nearly constant double-teams or going to practice with a nagging foot injury.
“That tells me a lot about her character,” Tucker said. “She’s got a rock-solid character.”
Ally credits her family with instilling that character in her. Her brother, Andrew Deremer, who graduated from CCA last month, is a former multi-sport athlete (basketball, soccer, track and cross country).
“He’s a good role model to have,” she said. “He’s really inspired me.”
Deremer has inspired teammates, too, Tucker said.
“She’s very quiet, but she can communicate whenever she feels it’s necessary,” he said.
One moment when she felt it was necessary occurred earlier this year, when a rough patch prompted her to call a players-only closed-door meeting.
“She just reaffirmed that it’s not about individuals, it’s about the team,” said Tucker, who didn’t learn the specifics of the meeting until later in the season.
For her part, Ally has embraced the leadership role that she said is a natural fit for the position she plays.
“That’s kind of like the commander on the court,” she said. “Being a point guard on the floor is kind of like being a coach on the floor.
“You have to be vocal. That’s how you help everyone.”
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