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ALBRIGHT: Webster’s Sydney Baird shows she is worthy of more media attention

Sydney Baird’s follow-up to her explosive freshman debut reads as a huge success.

That is not an opinion. Or a take.

It is a fact.

The Webster County baller put together a sophomore resume dwarfing her first-year stats.

Her scoring rocketed up from 23 points per game to 29.8 markers. Alongside that, her shooting percentage jumped from just 50 percent to a ridiculous 59 percent.

Two things all the more improbable when considering she read as public enemy number one.

OK, maybe it wasn’t that bad. But rest assured, coaches certainly stayed aware of her abilities. It is just they couldn’t do a whole lot to stop her.

Because, her game never solely revolved around scoring — not in the slightest. Instead, her ability to get her teammates involved, her defense, and her ability to be a small guard and rebound guaranteed a constant and consistent impact.

“Mainly, she is a leader and the girls love her and she loves the girls and she is striving to make our program better,” mother and head coach of the Little Kanawha Conference East team Sharon Baird said.

Overall, the bar for next year sits high thanks to her daughter’s efforts.

It’s just too bad no one witnessed many of them. Or as Governor Jim Justice says, “It is a darn shame.”

“She’s worked hard day in and day out to get where she is now,” Sharon said. “We call in the scores to the Charleston and Beckley papers but we don’t get any response back from them on doing anything on her.”

Still, it definitely isn’t fair to call out all in the media. At least some newscasters showed up to Upperglade when Baird tallied her 1,000th point.

But for everyone who watched her reach the milestone, just as many missed her scoring 46 points against Doddridge County, including 21 in the fourth quarter as the Highlanders recovered for a win.

Or the contest against Roane County, where everything clicked and she nearly finished with a triple-double.

Now look, it is true that it is an hour-and-a-half to two hour drive from Charleston or Beckley, and that covering the Highlanders would likely require someone sacrificing a day off.

But, we are talking about providing coverage to a player whose lowest amount of points scored in a game is 20 against Richwood. Also, if the Register-Herald can do a preview on Richwood, which got stomped by the Highlanders in the sectional final, it can do a preview or find a way to Webster County.

And, it isn’t like head coach or player expects constant coverage, because they don’t.

“We just want them to know we exist and maybe cover three or four games, because there is a good girls basketball team at Webster County and they deserve the coverage,” Sharon said.

She’s right.

Just listen to her daughter.

“They are missing a good game, we usually play well on our home court,” Sydney said.

And yet, if the media doesn’t show up, it won’t affect her performance one bit.

“No matter what happens I will play my game and one day they will realize they should have covered us more,” she said.

Let’s hope that realization happens sooner rather than later.

“She is the real deal, man, she is the real deal,” Williamstown head coach Fred Sauro said.

Contact Joe Albright at jalbright@newsandsentinel.com.

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