Byars out for season; basketball community responds

Published 11:13 am Thursday, January 11, 2024

In a season so fruitful for the GRC Lady Cards (15-1) basketball, unfortunate circumstances struck on Saturday afternoon.

After exiting the game in the second quarter against Montgomery County, junior Ciara Byars – heavily recruited by numerous Division 1 programs and Power Five NCAA schools – has been ruled out for the season with an ACL injury.

The injury occurred inadvertently as Byars drove to the basket and was met by two Montgomery County defenders, a commonplace occurrence in basketball.

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As stated by 10thRegion.com, Byars, a 6’2” junior, averaged 14.1 points and 5.3 rebounds this season and was named MVP of the White, Greer & Maggard Holiday Classic following the Lady Cards’ 79-43 victory over Ryle.

The junior superstar is currently ranked by ESPNw as the number 37 prospect in the nation for the class of 2025, leading a Lady Cards team that ranks by many sources as number one or two in the state of Kentucky.

Last season, en route to GRC’s Final Four finish, Byars led the team in scoring with 18.2 points per game.

Following the news, statewide reactions varied on X.

Some pundits wondered how it would impact the Lady Cards’ basketball team.

“Huge lose [sic] for the GRC girls basketball team,” stated Bluegrass Scoreboard, covering Kentucky sports for ten years.

“Absolute gut punch for the GRC girl’s basketball team,” stated Phoenix Stevens of Kentucky Sports Radio.

Others came from family and friends.

“This comeback gon [sic] be great twin believe that!…god got you!” wrote current GRC Cards’ senior Reshaun Hampton.

“Tough pill to swallow but she WILL be back! Stay strong 3, you know we got you!!!” wrote older sister Anovia Byars.

Individuals associated with other 10th Region teams expressed universal support.

“Hate to hear that,” wrote Troy Archibald, head coach of the Bracken County Lady Polar Bears.

“Terrible news! Prayers for a speedy recovery,” stated the Nicholas County Lady Jackets basketball team account.

While fellow junior Leah Macy of Bethlehem High School often rivals Byars when considering top players in Kentucky, Macy’s mother – Stephanie Swartz Macy – posted.

“This hits hard…We love this kiddo and we are always in her corner. She is tough and determined and has the best support around her. I know she will attack her recovery with 110% just like she always plays!”

Leah Macy herself wrote that she would be praying for Byars.