Lyles MS student’s athletic prowess impresses, inspires

At just 12 years old, Lyles Middle School student Carly Gates is already building an impressive athletic resume. The seventh-grader wowed in the fall, becoming a top scorer in volleyball and proving girls can play football, too. This semester, she dominated on the girls basketball team, leading the Lumberjacks to an undefeated season.

“She is an exceptional student athlete,” said Lyles Girls Athletic Coordinator Dahlia Royal. “She was our leading scorer for our seventh-grade girls basketball team, scoring 25-50 points per game. She was also our top defender on the court, continuously causing the offense to turn the ball over.”

Hailing from an athletic family, it seems natural for Gates to dive into multiple sports and excel. 

“My whole family plays everything. We are very active. I started soccer when I was three, because that is my favorite sport,” she said. “I like sports because they let you release your stress and take it out on the court or field.”

Gates’ positive, respectful and down-to-earth personality not only keeps her going, it also impacts her team.

“The girls look up to Carly as a great leader for our seventh and eighth-grade athletic program. Her character is strong academically and athletically—yet she remains humble,” Royal explained. “Her teammates may not reach her level of athleticism, but Carly does her best to encourage and help coach her peers.”

Gates’ encouragement and coaching may be one of the reasons Lyles did exceptionally well this season. Lyles teacher and girls basketball coach Tamesha Booker believes Gates helped define the Lumberjacks’ reputation and competitive status.

“I think Lyles is appreciative to have her. She has kind of put seventh-grade athletics on the map,” Booker said. “I know she is going somewhere. She is going to do big things. As long as she keeps her character, she will continue to go far. If she stays in basketball, I definitely see the WNBA in her future.”