— by Tony Wolfe, Times West Virginian
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — In reality, Fairmont Senior’s Anysa Jordan had so little left to prove.
Individual notoriety? She nailed that down when she earned first-team all-state honors as a sophomore in the 2016-17 season.
State championship? She also found that in her sophomore year, when she led the Polar Bears to their first title of head coach Corey Hines’ tenure. Long-term security? She checked that box when she committed to play Division I college basketball at Eastern Kentucky back in November.
Jordan entered her senior season having already achieved virtually everything someone can set out to accomplish during their high school career. After a serious knee injury cost her all but the first two games of her junior year, she had every excuse to take it easy on herself and coast through her final season in a Fairmont Senior uniform, knowing she’d already given her school everything it could have expected her to.
Fortunately for the Polar Bears, however, Jordan didn’t see it that way.
“As soon as I got hurt, I knew I would have to work and come back stronger,” Jordan said. “That whole period of time I wasn’t playing, there wasn’t a doubt in my mind we would be (back in the state tournament).”
Jordan faced her uphill recovery battle head-on, and returned to her senior year as dominant as ever. She averaged a double-double, 20 points and 10 rebounds per game to go with four blocks per game.
Unsurprisingly, those numbers played a major role in getting the Polar Bears right back to where she expected them to be — the state tournament in Charleston, where they won their second title in three years with a 51-39 victory over Wyoming East, a game in which Jordan scored 15 points and grabbed three rebounds.
Jordan showed not only a remarkable skillset, but a unique determination that seemed to inspire everyone around her. Because of that, the West Virginia Sports Writers Association chose her to be the captain of the Class AA All-State team.
“(Jordan)’s a difference-maker,” Hines said. “What she does is contagious. She sets a trend, I tell her that all the time … We don’t always shoot the ball well, but the way we rebound, we give ourselves second and third chances, and that starts with Anysa.”
Joining Jordan on the the Class AA first team All-State list are three players her team faced in the state tournament in Frankfort senior Abby Beeman and Wyoming East seniors Emily Saunders and Jazz Blankenship. Beeman was a one-girl show throughout the year, stringing together 23.7 points per game, 8.0 assists per game, 5.5 rebounds per game and 5.0 steals per game.
Saunders, a 6-foot-5 center, put together another dominant season inside the paint, finishing with 13.7 points per game, 6.8 rebounds per game and 4.2 blocks per game, while Blankenship served as the main scoring force for the Warriors, averaging 17.6 points per game and 4.2 assists per game.
Filling out the rest of the first-team are senior Laila Arthur (Sissonville), senior Emily Riggs (Bridgeport), senior Lakyn Adkins (Wayne) and sophomore Baylee Goins (Nitro).
Arthur led the state in scoring, entering the state tournament having scored 25.4 points per game while also averaging 6.6 rebounds, 4.5 assists and four steals.
Riggs led the Tribe with 19.5 point per game in a season that included a 39-point game against eventual state champion Fairmont Senior, and Adkins averaged 14.3 points per game for the Pioneers.
Goins finished with 23.4 points, 7.9 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 3.7 steals and 2.9 blocks per game.
Second-team all-state is captained by Chapmanville senior Kaylee Blair. She is joined by North Marion junior Taylor Buonamici and Fairmont Senior senior Courtney Wilfong.
Buonamici scored 13.9 points per game while averaging 5.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.6 steals, while Wilfong earned a reputation as one of the best defenders in the state, playing a key role in limiting two first-team guards in the final two games of the state tournament.
Also earning second-team nods are senior Anna Hamilton (Nicholas County), junior Jaisah Smith (Bluefield), sophomore Victoria Sturm (Lincoln), sophomore Skylar Davidson (Wyoming East), and freshman Peyton Ilderton (Logan).
Sturm scored 14.1 points per game and grabbed five rebounds per game, while Davidson scored 10.5 points per game and dished 6.2 assists per game. Ilderton finished her rookie season with 20.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 3.4 steals per game.
North Marion senior Hannah Shriver earned a third-team captain nod thanks to another stellar defensive season to accompany 12.6 points and 4.9 assists per game.
Fairmont Senior freshman Marley Washenitz and senior Abby Faulkner each picked up third-team honors as well, with Washenitz putting together a standout effort across the board in her first year of high school basketball and Faulkner finishing her career averaging double figures in points.
Rounding out the all-state third team was junior Allison Dunbar (Herbert Hoover), junior Lauren Hudson (Winfield), junior Jocelyn Abraham (Braxton County), sophomore Hannah Ferris (Lincoln) and sophomore Haley Wallace (Wayne).
The 2019 all-state girls basketball team as selected by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association
Anysa Jordan, Fairmont Senior, Sr. (captain)
Abby Beeman, Frankfort, Sr.
Laila Arthur, Sissonville, Sr.
Baylee Goins, Nitro, So.
Emily Saunders, Wyoming East, Sr.
Jazz Blankenship, Wyoming East, Sr.
Emily Riggs, Bridgeport, Sr.
Lakyn Adkins, Wayne, Sr.
Kaylee Blair, Chapmanville, Sr. (captain)
Jaisah Smith, Bluefield, Jr.
Taylor Buonamici, North Marion, Jr.
Anna Hamilton, Nicholas County, Sr.
Peyton Ilderton, Logan, Fr.
Victoria Sturm, Lincoln, So.
Courtney Wilfong, Fairmont Senior, Sr.
Skylar Davidson, Wyoming East, So.
Marley Washenitz, Fairmont Senior, Fr.
Allison Dunbar, Herbert Hoover, Jr.
Hannah Ferris, Lincoln, So.
Hannah Shriver, North Marion, Sr. (captain)
Lauren Hudson, Winfield, Jr.
Haley Wallace, Wayne, So.
Jocelyn Abraham, Braxton County, Jr.
Abby Faulkner, Fairmont Senior, Sr.
Alexa Andrews, Oak Glen; Kierra Bartholow, East Fairmont; Marleigh Bays, Sissonville; Alexis Bolen, Independence; Graci Brumfield, Lincoln County; Jenna Burgess, Petersburg; Brooke Burns, Scott; Kristen Calhoun, River View; Haley Carroll, Nitro; Emma Cayton, Lewis County; Maliyah Cottingham, Liberty Harrison; Katie Daniels, Wyoming East; Abbie Denham, North Marion; Makenna Douthitt, Frankfort; Halle Farmer, Roane County; Alyssa Hill, Philip Barbour; Sara Hooks, Wayne; Paige Humble, Bridgeport; Emily Hudson, Winfield; Maggie Kovalcik, Oak Glen; Kearstin Lucas, Keyser; Meredith Maier, Grafton; Gracie Mann, James Monroe; Rory Marple, Bridgeport; Madi Martin, Lincoln; Laken McKinney, PikeView; Sophia Mikula, Weir; Maci Miller, Frankfort; Cara Minor, North Marion; Carley Moretto, Bluefield; Makayla Morgan, Westside; Taylor Phillips, Elkins; Bella Posey, Lewis County; Kierra Richmond, Shady Spring; Allison Rockwell, Lincoln; Brooke Russell, Wyoming East; ZZ Russell, Winfield; Whitney Sansom, Wayne; Autumn Spangler, Bluefield; Somer Stover, East Fairmont; Scarlett Thomason, Mingo Central; Hannah Toler, Westside; Jill Tothe, Logan; Lexi Turner, Keyser; Stephanie Vincent, Fairmont Senior; Lilly Ware, Braxton County; Madison Webb, Chapmanville; Hayley Willey, Robert C. Byrd; Brynne Williams, Lincoln; Ali Williamson, Chapmanville