TAKING CHARGE: Altamont's Claire Boehm is known for sacrificing and does it by taking charge after charge

May 7—ALTAMONT — Every basketball team has that one player.

The person who sacrifices themselves for the betterment of the group.

Those same players are seldom acknowledged for their accomplishments, too.

For the Altamont girls basketball team — over the past three seasons since she's been a fixture in the rotation — that player has been Claire Boehm.

The senior embodied sacrifice, finishing with a whopping 19 charges during her final season with the Lady Indians. Her defense helped the team achieve numerous history-making accomplishments, as well, highlighted by a trip to CEFCU Arena and the state tournament.

"The charge is a huge momentum shifter," Altamont head girls basketball coach Craig Carr said. "I see people in the media talk about doing away with that call and she couldn't disagree with that more. I hate it when kids just put the ball under their arm and recklessly go to the hole and they couldn't do that against us because we had a kid who was going to be there to draw that charge.

"She has the guts to step in there and take it. There are a lot of players all over the place who have those kind of instincts but don't have the courage to step in and take that contact and she does. That's a credit to her."

Boehm looks at how she's always been pushed on the court as the reason she's the player she turned out to be.

"Someone once told me the only thing you can control is effort and hustle," Boehm said. "I have never been a high scorer, but what I can do is execute my role on the defensive side of things and do what I do best — take charges."

"She knows the game, sees the whole floor, has great instincts, which you got to have to take charges and she can also move her feet," Carr added. "She took multiple charges against kids that were on the dribble against her and she took a lot more in help (defense) when someone else got beat off the dribble. That takes a lot of skill, anticipation."

There is also an addiction to the energy that comes after a charge is drawn.

Crowds eat those plays up. And players feed off that.

"It's an unreal feeling from my perspective," Boehm said. "Taking the charge, my teammates right above me cheering, looking over at the crowd and seeing them with the 'charge' motion, hearing the student section doing the 'charge' chant — it's something that I feel I will always be remembered for."

Though charges are exciting, teams typically don't keep track of the statistic.

Carr, on the other hand, was unlike most coaches and had one thing in mind before taking the job that he felt was necessary.

He wanted to create something that documented that sacrifice.

So, Carr created the "Charge Wall."

"Like a lot of things, it was an idea that I saw online when I was trying to prepare for this job," Carr said. "It's always been something that I've put a lot of emphasis on and I thought that just might help the girls realize how much I value that play and that effort and I think, as the year went along, it worked."

Once Boehm found out about the creation, her mind was made up.

"'I'm gonna fill that wall up,'" she said.

She did just that and, over time, her teammates added their names to the "Charge Wall," too.

Carr credits Boehm as an example for that and said that is how she will be remembered.

"It's probably going to be her legacy with Lady Indian basketball and her willingness to make that sacrifice," Carr said.


See Friday's edition of the Effingham Daily News for the 2024 winners of the Daily News Boys and Girls Defensive Players of the Year.