FAIRMONT — All season long, a quartet of girls basketball teams stood among the best in Class AAA. Once the state tournament got underway in Charleston, the top four seeds of Fairmont Senior, North Marion, Nitro and Logan proved they were indeed a cut above the rest as each rolled into the Class AAA state tournament semifinals.
Ultimately, Nitro came out on top of the four-way battle royale to win its first state championship with a stunning 51-45 victory over Fairmont Senior in the championship game, but it was all four of Nitro, Fairmont Senior, North Marion and Logan that proved their collective merit. After all, those four teams compiled a combined record of 62-7 (.899) for the season, with four of those seven losses coming against one another.
In recognition of the quality of all four teams and the prestige of the stars that power each of them, Nitro, Fairmont Senior, North Marion and Logan were each well represented on the Class AAA All-State team, as selected by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.
The foursome combined to claim six of the eight All-State first-team spots and eight of the 16 spots overall on the first and second teams.
Nitro senior guard Baylee Goins and Fairmont Senior junior guard Marley Washenitz headlined the group as Class AAA All-State first-team co-captains. The much-acclaimed duo, who led their teams to a combined 35-2 record, also split the 2021 Mary Ostrowski Award as the co-state Players of the Year, announced last week.
“I can’t say enough about Baylee — it’s night in and night out she’s getting double-teamed and triple-teamed and she just stays so composed,” Nitro coach Pat Jones said during the tournament. “She doesn’t get frustrated, she doesn’t run her mouth, she doesn’t do anything [like that]. I told Baylee her freshman year that we were going to set goals each year, and Baylee knew to bring a state title back to Nitro was the ultimate goal.”
Goins averaged 20.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, 7.9 assists and 3.3 steals for the Wildcats, while Washenitz averaged 20.1 points, 9.0 rebounds, 10.0 assists and 6.1 steals for the Polar Bears.
“You don’t want your players to have a definition, you want them to be basketball players, and Marley fills the stat sheet,” Fairmont Senior coach Corey Hines said of Washenitz. “In the fourth quarter, I think by far, Marley’s one of the best. A lot of people will harp on what she can’t do, or try to find something [off] in her game, but out of anyone in the state, that’s who I want to go with.”
Washenitz is joined on the All-State first team by her teammate and close friend Meredith Maier, who transferred to Fairmont Senior from Grafton before the season and put up a monster campaign, averaging 18.5 points, 12.9 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 4.7 steals and 1.6 blocks in her debut season with the Polar Bears.
A pair of North Marion players also garnered first-team honors with sophomore forward Olivia Toland and senior guard Karlie Denham each representing the Huskies, while Logan junior guard Peyton Ilderton also made the first team.
Toland averaged a team-best 20.7 points and over four steals a game for North Marion, while Denham posted a full line of 13.6 points, 4.9 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game. Ilderton, meanwhile, averaged 21.5 points a game for the Wildcats to go with 6.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 3.5 steals per game.
Huntington St. Joseph’s Damon and Pikeview’s Hannah Perdue nabbed the two remaining spots on the All-State first team. Perdue averaged 26.2 points and 5.5 rebounds to power the Panthers back to the state tournament despite mass graduation losses, while Damon transferred to St. Joseph from Greenbrier East prior to the season and starred for coach Shannon Lewis’ squad with 21.4 points, 9.2 rebounds and 3.3 steals per game.
Robert C. Byrd’s Victoria Sturm was the captain of the All-State second team. Sturm, who transferred to the Eagles from Lincoln, averaged a team-high 18.1 points to go with 7.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.5 steals a game.
Nitro and North Marion each landed players on the second team, with junior guard Taylor Maddox representing the state champion Wildcats after a breakout state tournament, and junior center Katlyn Carson nabbing a spot for the Huskies to give them a state-best three representatives on the All-State teams. Maddox led all players in scoring at the Class AAA state tournament with 57 points across three games to lead Nitro’s championship charge, while Carson was an all-around stalwart for the Huskies with a near-triple-double average of 13.6 points, 10.9 rebounds, and 8.8 blocks a game.
The rest of the All-State second team was made up of Wheeling Central’s Marisa Horan; Wayne’s Alana Eves; Midland Trail’s Emily Dickerson; Winfield’s Meghan Taylor; and Oak Glen’s Reece Enochs.
Class AAA All-State Girls' Basketball Team
Marley Washenitz, Fairmont Senior; Jr. (co-captain)
Baylee Goines, Nitro; Sr. (co-captain)
Peyton Ilderton, Logan; Jr.
Meredith Maier, Fairmont Senior; Jr.
Amya Damon, Huntington St. Joe; Jr.
Hannah Perdue, PikeView; Jr.
Olivia Toland, North Marion; Soph.
Karlie Denham, North Marion; Sr.
Marisa Horan, Wheeling Central , Sr.
Taylor Maddox, Nitro; Soph.
Victoria Sturm, RCB, Sr. (Captain).
Alana Eves, Wayne, Sr.
Emily Dickerson, Midland Trail; Sr.
Meghan Taylor, Winfield, Soph.
Kaitlyn Carson, North Marion; Jr.
Reece Enochs, Oak Glen, Sr.
Isabella Aperfine, Weir; Hannah Ault, Hampshire; Anna Belan, Elkins; Laynie Beresford, Fairmont Senior; Brooklyn Bowen, Nitro; Anyah Brown, PikeView; Emma Cayton, Lewis County; Kaili Crowl, Keyser; Emily Denison, Philip Barbour; Sydney Farmer, Sissonville; Hannah Ferris, Lincoln; Emma Elliott, Liberty Harrison; Gracie Fields, Hampshire; Alexus Greenlief, Oak Glen; McKennan Hall, Ripley; Alyssa Hill, Philip Barbour; Olivia Krinov, Lewis County; Avery Lucas, Lincoln County; Leah Maley, Weir; Alexis O’Dell, Nicholas County; Julia Preseruati, St. Joseph; Taylor Ray, Herbert Hoover; Kierra Richmond, Shady Spring; Alyssa Satterfield, Grafton; Alexa Shoemaker, Keyser; Braylyn Sparks, Philip Barbour; Emily Starn, Fairmont Senior; Emily Suddreth, Independence; Jill Tothe, Logan; Tristen White, Wheeling Central