Cameron’s Lili Neely Named First Team All-State
Teammates Clutter, VanTassell voted to second team; Madonna’s Melnyk is captain
NAUGATUCK — Cameron’s Lili Neely will look back and smile when she reflects on her senior season. And while her Dragons came up one win short of winning a state championship, 2021 will be a season to remember.
Neely paced Cameron with 17 points per game to go along with five rebounds. With her leadership and impressive resume, she was named West Virginia Class A girls First Team all-state by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.
A pair of Neely’s teammates made Second Team all-state in freshmen Ashlynn VanTassell and Kenzie Clutter. VanTassell averaged a double-double scoring 15.3 points per game while grabbing 12.7 boards. Clutter scored 7.6 ponts, had 3.8 rebounds and dished out 3.6 assists per night.
Madonna senior Jazzy Melnyk secured Second Team captain after guiding the Blue Dons to their first state tournament appearance since 2016. Melnyk scored 14 points and 10 points per game along with four assists and four steals.
Just a little over a week ago, Tug Valley High School captured the first girls state basketball championship in school history with a 63-45 win over Cameron in the Class A title game.
The Panthers added another first on Tuesday as guard Kaylea Baisden has became the first girls’ player from Tug Valley to be voted the captain Class A girls basketball all-state first team.
“We’ve had some first team players before but we’ve never had a first team captain,” Tug Valley coach Clyde Farley said.
“And my take on that when they say first team captain is that they are saying you are the very best player in Class A basketball, and I think that she is.”
The junior had another standout season for the Panthers in 2021 finishing the year averaging just over 17 points per game to go along with seven assists and six steals per game.
She averaged more than 20 plus points per game as a sophomore and garnered a second team nod and was named third team all-state as a freshman.
Baisden guided the Panthers to a 15-2 record, their first state title, and had a breakout performance in her three tournament games at the Charleston Coliseum.
She averaged 25 points, eight rebounds, five assists, and four steals per game for the three tournament contests and broke the girls tournament record for all classes when she sank nine 3-pointers during the Panthers 67-24 win over Pendleton County.
“I surprised myself a little bit that first day,” Baisden said of her performance in Charleston.
“This is definitely what I’ve worked for most of my life.”
Baisden was joined on the first team by teammate Makayla May who averaged a double-double for the Panthers this past season. The senior finished the year putting up 14 points and 11 rebounds per game to go along with four assists.
May and Baisden were the only set of teammates to garner first team attention.
Webster County sophomore Sydney Baird landed on the first team as the leading scorer in the Class posting averages of 30.9 ppg, 6.4 reb ppb, 6.2 apg, 7.3 steals per game.
Tucker County’s 6’1″ sophomore center Kadie Colebank (17ppg, 10 rpg) and Calhoun County’s Jose Montgomery (20.3 pgg) were each voted to the first team after leading their team to an appearance in the Class A semifinals.
River View sophomore Trista Lester joined the first team after guiding the Raiders to the state tournament with an average of 13.4 points per game while Gilmer County’s Carrah Ferguson, who was ranked No. 1 in the AP Poll for much of the season before losing to Tug Valley in the regional final, rounds out the illustrious squad.
She was joined on the second team by Tug Valley’s Alyssa Newsome (12 ppg) Richwood’s Trinity Amick (19.2 ppg, 19.1 rpg), Calhoun County’s Savannah Cunningham (16.2 ppg), Doddridge County’s Abby McDonough (14.9 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 3.0 apg, 3.6 apg), and Tolsia’s Julie Boone (10 ppg, 10 rpg, 2 bpg).