BLUEFIELD — Records are meant to be broken and that is what Laken McKinney has done as a member of the PikeView High School girls basketball program.
McKinney holds the record for most points and rebounds in a career at PikeView, which opened its doors in 1994. She wraps up her senior year as the 2019-20 Bluefield Daily Telegraph Girls Player of the Year
The six-foot-two post player led PikeView to its first appearance in the state tournament since 2013 and a state quarterfinal win over the defending champions before the season was shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.
McKinney averaged 17 points and 11 rebounds a game along with just under three blocks, earning a spot on the Class AA all-state first team.
She finds most of her success in the post but has learned to step further out over the last two seasons. This has caused problems for teams trying to shut her down.
“I feel like I’ve always been a pretty good post player but what I’ve been working on the past couple years is extending the outside game and shooting a little bit more,” McKinney said.
McKinney is joined by teammate Shiloh Bailey on the first team. Bailey averaged a double-double in her senior season and earned Class AA all-state honorable mention status. The six-foot post player scored more than 1,000 points in high school career along with over 1,000 rebounds.
The focus for the six-foot Bailey throughout her four years of high school has been on doing whatever it takes to help the Lady Panthers win. Some games it was scoring. Other nights, it was rebounding and defense.
“I never thought about myself when I scored. I just did whatever I could do to get my team on top,” Bailey said.
The third basketball player from Mercer County earning first team honors is Bluefield’s Jaisah Smith. The senior guard led the Lady Beavers to a regional co-final game and was named to the Class AA all-state second team for the second consecutive year.
“She’s the complete package and that’s what affords her the opportunity to score even when teams are running junk defense at her,” Bluefield head coach Ernie Gilliard said.
Honaker’s LeeAnna McNulty is the third of four players on the first team who averaged a double-double. After her return from injury, McNulty averaged 18.6 and 11.5 rebounds a game. She was named to the Class 1 all-state first team after leading the Lady Tigers to a state co-championship.
Kristen Calhoun put the cap on her senior year at River View by being named to the Class AA all-state third team averaging 14.5 points and 11.7 rebounds a game. She had consistent success on both ends of the court and finished with the fourth most points and rebounds in River View history as a result of all the hard work she put in.
“We always knew that we would get mid-teens out of her points-wise and she’d always be right around 10 or 11 rebounds. Probably her biggest asset is just her hard work,” River View head coach Gehrig Justice said.
A four-year basketball starter and three-sport star, Richlands’ Lauren Earls is the final member of the first team. The second team All-Region 2D selection and first teamer for the Southwest District scored a number of game-winning baskets this past season along with excelling at her point guard responsibilities.
“When we need her to score 30, she’ll score 30,” Richlands head coach Aaron Lowe said. “Having a leader like that on the floor is tremendous.”
Calhoun and Smith will be moving on to play basketball at Concord while McKinney is taking her talents to WVU Tech.
Included on the second team are Princeton senior Taylor Scott who averaged 15.9 points a game and MaKenzee Shrewsbury of PikeView who battled through injuries to have a strong senior season.
The Giles duo of Karsyn Reed and Ashlynn Mitcham are on the second team The sophomore Reed led the team in scoring at just under 20 points a game and Mitcham was a solid point guard for the Lady Spartans.
The Southwest District was represented on the second team with Lexi Herald of Tazewell and Graham’s Julia Day. Herald was on the All-Region 2D second team and SWD first team as a junior while Day was named to the SWD second team for leading the G-Girls on both ends of the court.
Honorable mentions include: Hope Craft, Olivia Boggess and Hannah Perdue of PikeView, Richlands’ Denissa Ball, Brooke Rowe of Tazewell, Audrey Riddle of Narrows, Montcalm’s Olivia Alexander and Gracie Merrix of Giles.
— Contact Eric Walker at firstname.lastname@example.org