By CONOR NICHOLL
Earlier this season, Hoxie High School coach Shelly Hoyt wanted junior guard Carly Heim to play at a higher level.
"Don't try to fit in when you were born to stand out," Hoyt told her.
Heim eventually finished with another outstanding season, earned first team all-area honors for the second straight year and collected girls' Player of the Year honors on the 36th annual Hays Daily News All-Area team.
Heim, also a state champion in track and an all-state volleyball player, averaged 15 points and 6.2 assists, both team-highs.
"She has got an incredible amount of athleticism," Hoyt said. "The kid is smart -- she has the whole package."
The starting point guard, Heim tacked on 5.4 rebounds and 4.2 steals per game for the 26-0 Indian team that won its third straight Class 1A Division I state title and ran its winning streak to 73 contests. After the state finale against Blue Rapids-Valley Heights, Hoyt called Heim the state's best point guard.
"She is the quarterback of the team," Valley Heights coach Jenny Yungeberg said. "The way she runs the floor is amazing."
Known for her competitive edge and playing her best in the biggest games, Heim is one of four siblings. She has two older sisters, Carissa and Shelby. Carissa was a national qualifier for Fort Hays State University in the heptathlon.
Shelby was a senior on Hoxie's first title squad and plays basketball for Kansas Wesleyan University.
Carly has a twin brother, Josh, and a younger brother Jake. Her parents were part of a group that traveled the country with the current varsity basketball team when they were in the younger ranks.
"Huge impact," Heim said. "They have taken me everywhere, spent so much money, just made me get back up. I got knocked down all the time. They have just always been there and done so much for me."
The family has several basketball goals in the front of the house -- one is broken because someone dunked -- plus a half court in the back. Carly and Josh sometimes play 1-on-1; Carly said the victories go either way.
"Everything we do is competitive," Carly said. "Someone always has to be the best."
"What separates her from a lot of athletes is her competitive nature," Hoyt added.
Earlier in her 13-year Hoxie tenure, Hoyt saw Carly shooting baskets after a high school game. She didn't know the family really well at that point, but knew, because of Carly's length and athleticism, that she was going to be special. Heim has earned all-state honors three straight seasons.
This winter, Heim finished with 51 points, 18 rebounds and 12 assists at state. She tied for second in the classification in points and first in assists at the state tournament. Heim tallied at least 15 points in the last six contests and scored in double figures in nine of the last 10.
"Carly is a crazy good athlete," senior Kristina Farber said. "Puts a lot of time in. She has a lot of dedication to the game."
Jacie Capra (Hoyt), a former all-state player for Hoxie, one of the state's top 10 all-time scorers, Coach Hoyt's second oldest of four daughters and currently an assistant coach at NCAA Division I University of Nevada, called Heim one of her most favorite Indians.
"She is such a strong competitor," Capra said. "I wish that I could have played with Carly because even though we maybe would have killed each other in practice, I don't think we would have lost a game. She hates to lose, and she will do anything to win."
This winter, Heim added a pull-up jumper and grew stronger in her faith. She wrote a couple verses on her arm throughout the year.
"I can't do anything by myself anymore," Heim said. "I know that with God I can do anything I have ever dreamed of. Winning three state championships is obviously a big dream that came true."