SHORT GAP - Frankfort's Abby Beeman began playing basketball in church league when she was 8 years old.
By Chapin Jewell
SHORT GAP - Frankfort’s Abby Beeman began playing basketball in church league when she was 8 years old.
Through most of middle school, she split time between basketball and other sports, particularly gymnastics. According to Beeman, “I had to make a choice between gymnastics and basketball in the seventh grade and I chose basketball, that’s when I really started noticing that it was the sport for me.”
The rest, as they say, is history, literally.
On Thursday afternoon, surrounded by family, coaches, Frankfort athletic director Jay Hesse and principal Joe Riley, Beeman signed to continue her athletic and academic careers at Shepherd University. But Shepherd fans will have to wait a year to see the dynamic guard take the court in Shepherdstown, there’s another season, and unfinished business awaiting Abby and her teammates at Frankfort.
With her talent, work ethic and humble disposition, nobody is betting against Abby Beeman. Had she actually chose gymnastics, who knows, she very well may have become West Virginia’s next Mary Lou Retton. Watching Beeman grace the hardwood, however, it’s clear that she made the right choice in basketball. In only three years of varsity play at Frankfort, she’s set several school records and cemented her name alongside the greats of area basketball, all with one season remaining.
Beeman currently holds the school record at Frankfort for most career points (1,657). She broke it in a game against Philip Barbour on Feb. 12, 2018, in the middle of her junior season. In that same junior season, against Nicholas County, Beeman set the Frankfort school record for most points scored in a game (39).
In a game against county-rival Keyser, she set the school record for most three point field goals (8). She also holds the Frankfort record for most assists in a season (178). As proof that she is a complete player, not just an offensive powerhouse, Beeman also holds the Frankfort record for steals in a season (125).
You don’t shatter records like that by just showing up on game day. In a sport like basketball, even with natural talent, it takes hours and hours of practice to perfect ones skills. Records, games, and championships, as they say, are won in practice and in the off season. It’s a concept Abby Beeman understands very well.
According to Beeman, “I try to get in the gym every day, even in the off season. I play a lot of pick-up basketball with older guys who are faster, stronger and more athletic than most girls, which I believe really helps me. I also run cross country and track so that helps me stay conditioned. I love to play basketball so it’s really not hard for me to stay motivated.”
Frankfort Lady Falcons basketball coach Michael Miller knows that Beeman goes the extra mile. “I haven’t seen many players practice just as hard as they play in real games; Abby does that. Abby goes 200 miles per hour all the time and competes like no other, her knowledge of the game is like having another coach on the court,” according to Miller. He continues with, “She does everything well. There are no weaknesses in her game. I am looking forward to watching her in college but I told her she has business yet to take care of as a senior at Frankfort and that is to win a state championship.”
While Beeman looks to her future at Shepherd with promise, she cherishes her time spent at Frankfort. “There are so many Frankfort basketball memories. My favorite memory has to be the Bridgeport game at states last year,” she reflects. In that game, the state quarterfinals at the Charleston Civic Center, Beeman hit the game winning shot with 4.9 seconds remaining to lift the Falcons over Bridgeport and into the state semifinals. “Those are the games you dream of playing in and to hit the game winning shot meant everything to me. Last season was just a great memory over all,” Beeman adds.
Beeman views her time at Frankfort, both academically and athletically, as a valuable building block for her future. “My time at Frankfort has really prepared me for school considering we are one of the best academic schools in the state year in and year out. The success we had last year also really helped me grow as a player. Every year I find something new that I need to work on,” Beeman explains.
Frankfort coach Michael Miller has witnessed this continuous improvement and self development out of Beeman. Miller explains, “I have had the opportunity to know Abby and watch her grow as a basketball player since she was a kid. You could see something special in her then and now she amazes me every time she steps on the court. Watching her evolve into the player she is today has been a joy and pleasure to be a part of.”
Always humble, Beeman feels lucky to have those that stuck beside her on her journey. She credits family, friends, coaches, teammates, and of course Lady Falcons’ fans with offering support at every turn. “I have to give a lot of credit to my parents though because they have always pushed me to be the best that I can be every day and nothing would be possible without them,” Beeman offers.
Currently undecided on her specific course of study at Shepherd, Beeman knows she wants to “pursue a career in something sports related.” As for Shepherd, she feels it “is a great school academically and everyone is really close. Basketball wise I feel like I can really contribute to the team right away and that’s something I really looked for in a school.”
For their part, Shepherd knows they’re getting a real jewel in the talented Frankfort guard, as a player, and most importantly, as a person. According to Shepherd head coach Jenna Eckleberry, “We are excited about adding Abby to our Shepherd Ram family. Abby is a hard-nosed, very skilled guard that will have a huge impact on our team from the start. She has great vision, work ethic, and can flat out score the ball. More importantly, she is as great a person as she is a player. Our program got a lot better with the signing of Abby.”
As a gymnast, Mary Lou Retton won the hearts of West Virginians, Americans and people around the world. Abby Beeman’s stage may be a little smaller, but her fans are no less passionate about the dazzling basketball performances she puts on in gyms throughout Mineral County, West Virginia and the surrounding states. No doubt there are little eyes watching, aspiring to be great in the mold of Abby Beeman.
For her career, 77 games played, 1,657 points, 409 rebounds, 357 assists, 285 steals, 23 blocks, 177 three point field goals, 238 free throws made.
Abby Beeman has made her mark, and she’s just getting started. One more season as a Frankfort Falcon and then it’s on to Shepherd University. Who knows what records she might break there? We’ll be watching.