They may be two years apart, but sophomore Veyoni Davis and senior Bella Runyan share a lot in common.
The two stars of the Moorestown Friends girls basketball team emerged as one of South Jersey’s best duos in 2018-19, when they combined to score more than 1,000 points and helped the Foxes tie a program record with 21 wins. The two don’t just share the spotlight, however. They also share a similar personality, style of play and a very close friendship.
Davis and Runyan had never met prior to Davis’ arrival at Moorestown Friends in the fall of 2018. The first sport they played together wasn’t basketball, but instead soccer, as both players compete for the Foxes’ girls soccer program.
“She was really outgoing,” Runyan said of her first impression of Davis. “She said she was scared to talk to the older people … but I knew I should start talking to her because we were going to play basketball together. So we did just get along really well and we both have very outgoing personalities.”
Davis and Runyan both have friendly and approachable personalities off the court, while also displaying an intense will to win on the court. Their like-minded approaches to basketball and life paved the way for a strong friendship.
“Bella’s one of my close friends,” Davis said. “Playing together kind of just came along with our relationship.”
“They get along very well with each other,” head coach Mike Brunswick added. “They talk to each other really well. And if one of them is struggling, the other will pick them up or pick up their play.”
Never had any player score 500 PT’s in a season. Was a special year having 2. Congrats to Frosh Veyoni Davis with 574 and Jr Bella Runyan with 561. Great offensive output for two fun players to watch and coach @mfsfox @mfsbrunswick
— Michael Brunswick (@mfsbrunswick) March 5, 2019
Once their first basketball season rolled around in December of 2018, Davis and Runyan broke out. In their first game of the season against East Brunswick, Runyan scored 27 points and Davis 18 in a 56-51 win for Moorestown Friends. Davis and Runyan also tied for the team lead in rebounds (11 each) and finished one-two in steals (five for Runyan, three for Davis).
The Foxes’ dynamic duo had arrived.
“Our home opener last year was one of both of our best games of the season,” Runyan said. “From the start, we had four or five assists per game and it was mostly to each other. It really just came right away.”
The season ended with Davis scoring 574 points, the second-most ever scored by any freshman girls basketball player in Burlington County. Runyan finishes right behind her, with 561 points, and she was named first team all-South Jersey by the Albert J. Carino Girls Basketball Club of South Jersey.
“I was shocked actually,” Davis said of her freshman season. “ I was very thankful to have the teammates and the support that I’ve been able to have still to this day. It all just came as playing as a team. Thankfully, Bella is a good ball distributor, so most of my points came from that.”
“When they’re just playing, it’s so fluid,” Brunswick said about the duo’s high level of play. “They’re fun to watch. I even catch myself once in a while just watching.”
Talk with Davis or Runyan for just a few minutes about basketball and they’ll almost immediately start crediting their other teammates. They both believe the biggest story about Moorestown Friends this season isn’t them, but rather how good the rest of the team is.
“I can think of some games where I’m being face guarded and someone like Jasmine (Phillips) or someone like Roni (Kennedy) are pulling out; they’re shooting threes because they’re open instead of me,” Runyan said.
“They come to every practice, they come to every scrimmage, they work as hard as us,” Davis added.
Davis and Runyan are also humble when talking about each other. When asked who the better player is, Runyan immediately said Davis, saying the sophomore was “way better” than she ever was as a 10th grader.
Davis, meanwhile cited Runyan as an inspiration on the court.
“I think Bella is better than me,” she said. “I have so much respect for her. I look at her as a player and I would develop my game off of that. The way she shoots, the way she’s confident. She signed with Villanova, which is such a great school to go to.”
Brunswick doesn’t have to choose between Davis and Runyan. All he knows is he’s never seen a duo quite as strong as they are.
“They’re two of the best players I’ve ever coached,” he said.