UNION CITY, Ind. (3-7-22) – When she started out as a high school freshman, now Union City senior Mariah Claywell really was focused on volleyball. Fortunately for the Union City girls basketball program, varsity head coach Sarah Black talked Claywell into at least giving basketball a try… and the rest, as they say, is history!

According to Claywell, she never really saw herself as a big scorer on the court, so she focused more on steals and made breaking that record her goal early on in her career.

“I really never thought of myself as a player scoring a bunch of points in any games. It really wasn’t until my junior year when I found myself scoring more points than I ever thought I would be.”

After a major injury to her fellow senior baller, Emily Livingston, early in the season, Claywell stepped up her game to help carry her team to victory. With her consistent scoring efforts per game, Claywell surpassed both girls and boys all-time scoring record at Union City. A feat that pleasantly surprised Claywell, and caused the Tri-Eastern Conference to take notice – naming Claywell to not just the All-Conference team, but as the TEC Player of the Year. Most recently, IBCA/Franciscan Health named her to the Small School All-State team.

Coach Black

“Mariah really finds a way to lift up everyone around here. She really works hard and gets her teammates involved as much as possible. She is a true leader and has been a pleasure to have coached!”

Aside from her personal commitments and offseason training, Claywell has plenty of support coming from her parents, coaches, teammates and of course the Union City community.

Claywell noted –

“I got messages from just people that live here, congratulating me after I broke the scoring record. It just goes to show how much love and support is part of a small community like Union City.”

Mariah emphasized how important the love and support of her parents and the guidance from Coach Black really helped her get to this point in her high school career.

Mariah’s mom Michelle Claywell

“I have 3 girls but she’s the youngest and she didn’t like sitting at home. She loved to be challenged and would rather play 6 games in a weekend in a gym, get a black eye and bruised ribs than stay home. She absolutely loves the competitiveness. She loves defense. She’s the type that doesn’t just want to play a sport she wants to learn everything about it and excel at it.”

“She is one of the most competitive people I have ever been around. We are very proud of everything she has done and though it is hard to watch the high schools be over, we are excited to see what is to come for her”

Claywell said about her parents support –

“My mom is one of my biggest supporters, but she is also the first to tell me when I did something wrong during a game. My mom and dad really put a lot of time and money into getting from game to game while being on traveling teams for basketball and volleyball. Really, I can’t thank them enough for everything they have done for me!”

When it comes to Coach Black, Claywell can not say enough about how she has made a difference in the ballplayer’s life.

“She (Coach Black) has helped make me the player I am today. I could not have asked for a better coach and mentor. She really helped me grow into the best possible player and leader that I could be!”

With the number of records and milestones she has reached, it is hard to believe that her academics don’t suffer. Nothing could be furthest from the truth in Mariah’s case. She currently holds on to a 3.7 GPA, with 32 college credits.

Claywell accepted a scholarship to continue her hoops game at Bethel College, where she plans to major in psychology, with a minor in education and criminal justice. 

Coach Black

“Bethel is lucky to have her. No matter what she puts her mind to, I have no doubt she will accomplish her goals and more!”

She stated she would love to eventually have a career in the study of criminal behavior and profiling.

Story and picure by Clinton J Randall

Owner of crownrandall.com a professional website development, photography and graphic design service