Fitzwater named LKC Player of the Year

Williamstown’s Morris earns fourth nod on first team

Gilmer County’s Riley Fitzwater goes up for a shot against Lincoln earlier this year. Photo by Joe Albright.

PARKERSBURG — Gilmer County senior pivot Riley Fitzwater was honored as the Little Kanawha Conference’s Player of the Year.

The Titans, who won the 2016 Class A state championship and advanced to the state quarterfinals this year, knocked off rival Williamstown for the conference title.

“We’re going to miss Riley, of course,” said Titans’ boss and LKC Coach of the Year Amy Chapman. “She was a big force in the paint offensively and defensively. She really put it together and had a good senior year for us and she came out a little more driven.”

Fitzwater, who averaged 14 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks per outing, is the first Titan to win the LKC POY since current Glenville State College senior Julie Bishop.

“She’s been a great kid to work with, has a great attitude and is just a great teammate,” added the coach, who also landed point guard Kylie Shuff on the first team.

Fitzwater and Shuff made the first unit for the third straight season.

“You just don’t see a 6-4 kid coming through and a kid like Kylie, and the kids who started and came of the bench, they are a unique group and that’s what is special about us,” Chapman said.

Shuff, who will join Fitzwater at Concord University, averaged 14 points, five assists and almost five steals.

Williamstown senior Ashley Morris was the only honoree to make the team for a fourth consecutive campaign. The Yellowjacket point guard averaged 19 points, 3.8 rebounds and steals as well as 5.3 assists.

Also earning their third selection on the all-LKC first unit was St. Marys senior Jordan Fox, who averaged 22 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.4 steals and 3.3 assists an outing.

Roane County’s Lucille Westfall, Calhoun County’s Makayla Smith and Williamstown’s Samantha Dedrick were repeat picks on the first team. Westfall, who had 18 double-doubles for the Raiders, was a model of consistency. The Raider junior averaged 22.1 points, 14.5 caroms, 3.9 blocks, 2.2 assists and 1.6 steals per game. Dedrick finished with averages of 12.4 points, 5.2 boards, 2.3 steals and 2.1 assists. Smith, the Red Devils’ 5-foot point guard, amassed 15 double-doubles and finished her senior campaign by averaging 17 points, 9.1 rebounds, 3.2 steals and a trio of assists.

The dozen-member first team also featured five newcomers to the squad, which included Ritchie County teammates Stephanie Kirk and Cassie Tallman, who helped the Rebels reach the state tournament in their first year of single-A competition. Kirk averaged 15 points, 7.3 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.9 steals per game along with nearly one block. Tallman finished with averages of 14.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.0 steals and 2.7 assists.

Also making their first appearance on the top unit were Parkersburg Catholic’s Alexis Saunders (19.5 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 3.5 spg), Ravenswood’s Ali Westenhaver (11.2 ppg, 11.3 rpg) and Clay County’s Sarah Boggs.

Ravenswood’s Claudia Cubides and Haylie Reynolds joined Parkersburg Catholic’s Maddie Huffman and Olivia Ullman as well as Tyler Consolidated’s Josie Jones and JoLee Walton on the second team, which also included St. Marys’ Jenna Nichols, Wirt County’s Cori Hughes, Braxton County’s Hollis Skidmore, Gilmer County’s Carly Somerville, Williamstown’s Bethany Arnold and Clay County’s Makayla Horrocks.