KEYSER - Keyser High School students and fans were out in force Friday to support basketball standout Lexi Turner, who scored her 1,000th point on the court that night against Allegany High School.
By Chapin Jewell
KEYSER - There was a bigger build up than usual for the Keyser versus Allegany basketball game Friday night at Keyser High School.
Sure, Keyser and Allegany have been rivals for more than 100 years and both teams happen to field pretty darn good ladies’ basketball teams this year. But it was more than just that.
Entering Friday night’s contest, Keyser senior Lexi Turner had 988 career points and was just 12 points shy of the outstanding accomplishment that is 1,000 career points.
Twelve is a funny number. Scoring 12 points in a game, for a prolific scorer like Turner, is a very attainable goal. However, on a particularly cold night of shooting, reaching a dozen points can be a tall task.
There was no doubt, however, that the throngs of black and gold clad fans that piled into Keyser High School Friday night didn’t doubt Lexi for a minute. That was evidenced by the large crowd and the literally dozens of handmade signs being carted into the gymnasium by fans, young and old, in support of Turner on what they surely knew would be her big night.
With 2:49 to go in the third period, the magic happened. Lexi Turner received an inbound pass from teammate and friend Makenna Staggers at the right side of the basket, Turner moved to her left, and from beyond the three-point line, launched a three-point shot that was nothing but net for her 1,000th point, and to tie the game 31 points apiece.
The crowd erupted with excitement and Turner’s teammates joined her at midcourt with a burst of celebratory hugs. What’s more, the game was stopped for a few minutes as Keyser High School formally honored Turner on the occasion of this momentous career accomplishment.
“There was definitely a part of me that thought I wouldn’t get the points and so many people kept asking me if I was excited and ready to get those 1,000 points tonight,” a satisfied Turner said of her pre-game thoughts. “But everyone believed in me and I didn’t even think about the points going into the game, I just played ball,” Turner explained.
After the game in the gymnasium, and afterwards on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, the congratulations and well wishes continued.
According to Turner, “The love and support from everyone felt great. It’s good to see everyone come together and show school spirit. A lot of people came out for that game and I thank everyone who was there and who congratulated me.”
The excitement of the moment and the entire evening was not dampened by the fact that Keyser ended up losing a close one to the visiting Campers by a score of 50-44. Allegany led Keyser 14-9 at the end of the first period and 28-21at halftime. By the end of the third period, the Lady Tornado shrunk the Allegany lead to 38-36 after outscoring the Campers 15-10 in the third frame. Allegany would outscore Keyser 12-8 in the final period, however, to eke out the 50-44 victory.
In the victory, Allegany was led by Taya Sloan with 17 points. Joining Sloan in double figures were Katie Sterne with 15 points and Alayzia Ward with 13. Kelsey O’Neal added three points and Makenna Humbertson two.
In the loss, Keyser was led by none other than Lexi Turner, who tied the Camper’s Sloan for most overall points scored with 17. Kearstin Lucas followed with nine points, Makenna Staggers added five, and Caitlyn Wolfe and Aubrey Smith contributed four points apiece. Finally, Kaili Crowl added three points and Aly Smith two.
Keyser claimed victory in the junior varsity game, doubling up Allegany by a score of 40-20. Maddy Broadwater led the junior Tornado with 10 points, and was followed by Summer Reid with eight points and Janiah Layton with six. Finally, Rebekah Biser and Rylee Lyons contributed four points while Alexa Shoemaker, Graci Crites, Rachael Rutherford and Erin Smith added two points apiece.
The junior Campers were led by Erica Kasecamp’s eight points followed by Faith Stevenson and Rachel Bush with four points apiece. Sarah Kesner and Madelyn Cook contributed two each.
With the varsity loss, Keyser’s record moves to 7-5 on the season. The Lady Tornado will next travel to Berkeley Springs today, and to Hampshire on Wednesday, January 24. They will return home on Friday, January 26 to host Phillip Barbour.
Despite the close loss, Friday’s contest between Keyser and Allegany was, all in all, a joyous night for the Golden Tornado faithful. Fans filtered into the gymnasium expecting to see Lexi Turner deliver the goods, and deliver the goods she did.
For her part, however, the humble Turner is quick to give credit to her teammates and coaches for the role they’ve played in helping her on her journey, “I wouldn’t have done this without my teammates and coaches. Yes, I’m the one scoring the points but I couldn’t do it by myself. My coaches and teammates push me in practice to make me a better player.”
When asked if there were any special celebrations beyond those in the gym Friday night, Turner explained that after the game she got together with some of her teammates, staying the night at one of their houses where they talked about the game.
“It was good to get together with my girls. We’ve been together for years now and they aren’t just my friends, they’re my family and I couldn’t have done it without them.”
It was surely a night to be remembered by all who were in attendance.