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ALBRIGHT: Ravenswood’s Annie Hunt painted inspiring comeback picture

After spending last season on the bench away from the game she loved healing an ACL tear and heartache, believing Annie Hunt’s plans for 2019 was easy.

She’d pulled herself back together after the horrible news. Information causing her mother MOV Hall of Famer Mary Beth Varney Hunt and her both pain after the fateful phone call.

Annie also had waited too long. Shedding too many tears along the way and not just after learning the news.

She’d done all the right things and experienced all the various pains from her injury.

She’d watched herself on tape then worked, and worked and worked at reintegrating herself with her teammates.

And most importantly, she’d thoroughly readied her knee for her first varsity tip in two years.

Considering all of this, calling her ambitions admirable undercuts the narrative. Her goals still reached into the stratosphere. This wasn’t supposed to be the nice “Oh, Annie Hunt is back on the court good for her” return. Oh, no. If everything played out as planned, this reintroduction would ultimately read as the “Uh-oh, Annie Hunt is back” return.

“The kid was just ecstatic about playing again,” said Mary Beth.

Words and an outlook spelling out a hopeful tone for the Red Devils and head coach Cara Williams.

Trees bearing fruit was another story, entirely.

Hoping to block her progress came a multitude of Little Kanawha Conference coaches. All of whom possessed film on Hunt. Each likely constructing or already having constructed game plans around the junior point guard. Ravenswood’s youth also meant senior Skyler Varney and she stepping in as the top scoring options for the Red Devils. One development hardly presenting a problem.

Varney grabbed the reins well one season ago. And Lydia Alfred’s ascendancy to the varsity team spelled out an understudy for Hunt, giving her valuable rest.

All of this setting up the stage nicely for the big return. Meaning Hunt felt right at home due to her having played with the West Virginia Thunder AAU program. Not to mention, her desire for success having burned a hole in her pocket.

In other words, she nary missed a beat.

Well … sort of.

“Every few games we (my husband and I) would see her doing something new or different and be tickled to death. We gradually saw her entire game come back,” said Mary Beth.

Games that just so happened to be against Williamstown and Parkersburg Catholic, two of the top teams in the classification. Though the Red Devils went 0-4 against their LKC West opponents, Annie played at her best. Even when coaches Marty Vierheller and Fred Sauro threw different presses her way and took away other players and hampered the team, she showed up.

Scoring, assists, rebounds, 3s, free throws … You name any one of these and she delivered not just against those teams, but everyone in the conference. Throwing up over 420 points isn’t something to bat an eye at in Class A basketball.

Of course, everyone concentrates on the points.

Her vision at the 1 spot painted a beautiful picture and truly raised her above her ninth-grade years and peers. Her ability to see the floor opening up everyone almost all the time.

Surprise often showing on the face of Red Devil players who didn’t think they were open.

“She gets so excited about the passes and assists and remembers those more than anything else in the game. She loves running the point guard and is thrilled to open it up and watch things develop in transition,” said Mary Beth.

Scenes Annie will see more of in just a few weeks. Though Ravenswood’s season ended Friday against Wahama, the Thunder season starts up shortly after the state tournament.

And while she may take things to another level once more, the first part of her comeback sure looked pretty sweet.

Contact Joe Albright at jalbright@newsandsentinel.com.

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