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Wheeling Park’s Bella Abernathy Is First Team All-State

Lindsey Garrison finds spot on second team

Wheeling Park’s Bella Abernathy earned a spot on the W.Va. Girls’ all-state first team after a strong senior year. Photo by Kyle Lutz

By Ryan Pritt

HD Media

Even after missing a stretch of the season with a major injury, Bella Abernathy was still undeniably worthy of a spot on the inaugural Class AAAA All-State first team as voted on by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.

Abernathy averaged 18.5 points and eight rebounds per game in leading the Patriots to the state tournament during her senior campaign.

Wheeling Park senior guard Lindsey Garrison captained the second team after scoring 19.2 points per game.

Returning as the reigning Mary Ostrowski Award winner is no easy task and there wasn’t much George Washington senior Kalissa Lacy didn’t see this season in terms of opposing defensive game plans.

But planning to slow Lacy down has always been one thing, executing it has always been another.

Not many have had success in doing so during Lacy’s prolific career and she capped it with a state semifinal run and an average of 23.1 points per game and the honor of captain on the all-state first team.

Lacy is used to firsts, as she became the first GW player to earn a first-team captain’s spot and the player of the year award last season and scored the first basket in a Class AAAA state tournament game this season against Woodrow Wilson.

“It’s always something when you’re the first to do something,” GW coach Jamie LaMaster said. “She had a great year, was a great four-year player for us and helped get us back to the state tournament. She was a centerpiece for us. A lot of times as Kalissa went, so did GW.”

It’s the second straight captainship and third straight, first-team nod for Lacy, who will continue her career at Morehead State next season. Needless to say, she earned it, making a season out of being the focal point of opposing defenses.

“Every single game a coach would throw something different at me, that was the big thing,” Lacy said.

“I basically tried to involve my teammates and together we got through that. If I wasn’t making shots, maybe one of our freshmen were making shots. Maybe [senior point guard] Vivian [Ho] was making shots.”

It was certainly a year of growth and transition for Lacy as she, Ho and fellow senior starter Mary Lyle Smith welcomed freshmen Finley Lohan, Macie Mallory and Alaira Evans to the rotation. All played pivotal roles in propelling the Patriots to the state tournament and to that end, Lacy added 4.6 assists per contest.

“She embraced it,” LaMaster said. “We spoke about it a couple of times, how she felt like she was out there to lead them and serve as a ‘role model’ and an example of how things should be done and needed to be done. She’s been there four years with us, made the state tournament twice, played in regional and sectional title games, conference title games – she’s a good one to learn from and i think she really enjoyed seeing the younger kids grow this year.”

After appearing in the state tournament as a freshman, Lacy finally returned in 2021 and made a statement once there, pouring in 37 points in an opening-round win over Woodrow. The Flying Eagles were without the services of senior guard Cloey Frantz, a future Virginia-Wisle player who also earned a first-team selection after averaging 14 points, six rebounds and five assists per game. The Flying Eagles were the only team to land two players on the first team with senior post Jamara Walton (14.2 points, eight rebounds, 3.3 steals per game) also earning a nod.

While the Patriots bowed out to Cabell Midland in the semifinals, both the Knights and eventual-state-champion Huntington were also represented on the first team. Highlanders junior point guard Dionna Gray (18 points, six rebounds, eight assists and six steals per game) and Knights senior combo guard Autumn Lewis (21 points, 11 rebounds, four assists per contest) earned a first-team selection. Lewis will play at Alderson-Broaddus next year.

Morgantown was led by first-team selection in senior center Kaitlyn Ammons (17 points, eight rebounds, 62% shooting). Ammons, who scored over 1,000 points and grabbed over 500 rebounds in her career, will play at DePaul next season.

Rounding out the first team was Bridgeport sophomore Gabby Reep, who scored 19.5 points per game while grabbing 5.7 rebounds and dishing out 4.2 assists per game.

Parkersburg’s Sierra Mason, Buckhannon-Upshur’s Shelby McDaniels, Capital’s Talayah Boxley, Huntington’s Imani Hickman, Midland’s Jazmyn Wheeler, South Charleston’s Malhia Witten and Greenbrier East’s Cadence Stewart were second teamers.

CLASS AAAA All-State Girls Basketball Team

As selected by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association

First Team

Kalissa Lacy, George Washington; Sr. (captain)

Katilyn Ammons, Morgantown; Sr.

Dionna Gray, Huntington; Jr.

Bella Abernathy, Wheeling Park; Sr.

Autumn Lewis, Cabell Midland; Sr.

Cloey Frantz, Woodrow Wilson; Sr.

Gabby Reep, Bridgeport; Soph.

Jamara Walton, Woodrow Wilson; Sr.

Second Team

Lindsey Garrison, Wheeling Park; Sr. (captain)

Sierra Mason, Parkersburg; Soph.

Shelby McDaniels, Buckhannon-Upshur; Jr.

Talayah Boxley, Capital; Jr.

Imani Hickman, Huntington; Jr.

Jazmyn Wheeler, Cabell Midland; Soph.

Maliha Witten, South Charleston; Sr.

Cadence Stewart, Greenbrier East; Soph.

Honorable Mention: Jayda Allie, Cabell Midland; Rylee Allie, Cabell Midland; Sadie Boggess, Princeton; Skyler Bosley, Parkersburg South; Allison Burdette, Musselman; Jordan Carr, Jefferson; Macie Chrisman, Jefferson; Lauren Dean, University; Laken Dye, Princeton; Brilynn Florence, Parkersburg; Landyn Helms, John Marshall; Paige Humble, Bridgeport; Catherine Hunnell, John Marshall; LaTahia Jackson, Huntington; Mackenzie Joliffe, Martinsburg; Finley Lohan, George Washington; Samiah Lynch, Oak Hill; Sydney Meredith, Spring Valley; Maggie Oduor, Hurricane; Lauren Parrish, Princeton; Annamarie Pinti, Bridgeport; Madison Platt, Brooke; K.K. Potter, Cabell Midland; Candace Ritchie, Musselman; Asia Roby, Wheeling Park; Natalyia Sayles, Capital; Ella Simpson, University; Carsynn Sines, Preston; Carmen Skinner, Washington; Prosperity Stitt, Martinsburg; Kaiti Swann, Huntington; Michelle Thomas, Preston; Keanti Thompson, Woodrow Wilson; Cat Wassick, Morgantown; Hannah Wingrove, Parkersburg South

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