Wayne girls prepare for Nitro
WAYNE — Lakyn Adkins etched her name in the Wayne High School girls basketball record book one week ago on Senior Night, but isn’t ready to call it a career just yet.
Adkins eclipsed the 1,000 career point milestone when she made a free throw before halftime in the regular season finale against the Scott Skyhawks — an 81-50 win for the Lady Pioneers. Adkins became the fourth Lady Pioneer to reach the milestone, and joined her sister Ariel, a former Wayne standout and current freshman for the Marshall Thundering Herd on the short list.
While the milestone is a worthy cause for recognition, Wayne head coach Wade Williamson said the individual accomplishment more than likely falls by the wayside for Adkins and her team-first mentality.
“She’s matured a lot over her four years and turned into a good leader this year,” Williamson said. “She never really mentioned (1,000 points) to me much and I didn’t bring it up to her either. We were both aware of it, but she just played and when she reached it that was that.”
Williamson said Adkins, as well as seniors Bailey Robertson and Whitney Sansom have been key to the Lady Pioneers’ success including a trip to the 2018 state tournament. This year’s class successes, though, Williamson said far exceeded anything that can be accomplished on the court.
“It’s always fun when you get to watch the kids grow from the time freshman to seniors,” he said. “The basketball part is fun, yes, but it’s more fun to watch them grow as players and people. The kids that have graduated for us since I’ve been coaching are good people and I appreciate that as much as any success that we’ve had.”
Wayne enters sectionals with a 19-3 record, but there’s still plenty on the table for the Lady Pioneers as they prepare for their first game in the Class AA, Region IV, Section 1 tournament after earning the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye. Tip-off between Wayne and No. 3 Nitro is 7 p.m. Wednesday at Wayne. The winner moves on to face either No. 1 Winfield or No. 4 Sissonville in Friday’s sectional championship game.
While Wayne rested Monday night, the Nitro girls made easy work of Point Pleasant in a 72-24 victory.
Wayne split the regular season series with the Nitro Wildcats which included a lopsided 30-point win at home and a 63-57 loss when the Pioneers visited Nitro — its most recent loss.
By now, the teams are quite familiar with one another and Williamson said he expects no surprises.
“You get really familiar with people when you play them several times like that,” he said. “You get the chance to learn about each individual kid, more than you would if you played them just once. When you get into these games there aren’t a whole lot of surprises.
“We’ve just got to be ready to go out and play. All four teams left in our section are very good you have to prepare for a tough game. It comes down to us doing a good job of getting ready and being focused as a team.”
Nitro is led in production by sophomore Bailey Goins, who has torched several Cardinal Conference teams in her young career and has already eclipsed the 1,000-point mark after less than two complete seasons. Goins enters averaging 23.3 points a game and netted 26 in Nitro’s first-round win.
Wayne becomes her next target. When asked how to stop the standout sophomore Williamson offered little, but said her play-making ability makes it tough.
“That’s a good question that everyone has been trying to answer,” Williamson said. “We’ve got to try and keep her out of the lane, but even if you do that she does so much for them outside of that with the way she passes the ball and controls the offense for them. We’ll have to lock down and do the best we can.”
Wayne limited Goins to nine points when the teams met in December, but she scored 25 against the Lady Pioneers on Jan. 29.