Frankfort's Makenna Douthitt signs to play at Potomac State
By Chapin Jewell
On March 5 of this year, Frankfort’s Lady Falcons concluded a remarkable 23-2 season with a loss at home to the defending state champion Fairmont Senior Lady Polar Bears. Frankfort had defeated the reigning state champs in Fairmont on Dec. 30, in fact, it was a three-point shot at the buzzer from Makenna Douthitt that gave Frankfort the 60-59 victory.
On this night, Frankfort’s season ended much earlier than they had liked, and without a berth to Charleston for the state tournament, an accomplishment they had earned the previous two years. In addition to Frankfort’s remarkable season coming to an end, so too did the remarkable high school basketball career of Makenna Douthitt.
It’s a career that now ranks among the best of the best in Frankfort girls’ basketball annals. Makenna Douthitt could literally do it all, from the inside to the outside and all points in between. She holds the record for single season and career rebounding, and averaged over 15 points per game her senior season.
With a record-setting career at Frankfort now behind her, Douthitt now takes her talents, work ethic and passions to the next level.
On Monday, Aug. 10, surrounded by her parents Phil and Maria and head girls’ basketball coach Larry Kruk, Douthitt signed to continue her academic and athletic careers at Potomac State.
“I chose PSC for multiple reasons. The smaller campus offers a more personal-based learning experience, and I can live at home and save money. I am majoring in exercise physiology with an end goal of becoming a physical therapist. Everyone at PSC has been so kind and welcoming,” Makenna explained.
“On the basketball aspect, I like the competitiveness of the conference and the speed at which they play. I’m looking forward to meeting new people and playing with the other girls. The head coach, Larry Kruk, has been very complimentary of the way I approach the game,” Douthitt stated.
“Talking with him and observing his coaching style, I can see he cares about the game as well as his players. He wants to see us succeed. I’m really looking forward to playing for him.”
Makenna joins the Catamounts after a four-year career of unprecedented success at Frankfort. In both her sophomore and junior seasons, Douthitt helped lead the Falcons to back-to-back trips to the state tournament. Though Frankfort fell just short of reaching the state tournament in her senior season, the Lady Falcons enjoyed incredible success with a 23-2 record, with both those losses coming to the last two West Virginia class AA state champions.
It’s those big games, the ones in Charleston and the ones against regional rivals Fairmont Senior and North Marion that Douthitt will remember most.
“The biggest moments of my career would have to be the games that had everything on the line. My sophomore year we beat Fairmont Sr. in regionals. Junior year we beat North Marion in regionals. I will never forget the roar of the stands during that game. It was amazing. The games in Charleston were always intense, nerve-racking, exciting, and fun. It’s a whole different atmosphere”
As far as team success goes, Douthitt and her Falcon teammates enjoyed much of it these last four years. While her nature both on and off the court is to be the ultimate team player, the reality is that Makenna enjoyed tremendous individual success, while at the same time, elevating and not taking away the success of those around her. What individual basketball achievement is Douthitt most proud of?
“As far as individual accomplishments go, I am most proud of setting the single season rebound record as a sophomore because that was my first year playing down low. I had been a point guard since fifth grade. It was challenging to change my mindset and see the floor from a different angle. Barely standing 5’7”, I really had to learn how to get position and use my body, because I never had the height advantage.”
Inside or outside, in a leadership or supportive role, wherever she was, wherever she played, Douthitt delivered for the Falcons. Makenna’s blue-collar work ethic, passion for the game, and maximum effort on display game in and game out endeared her to the Falcon faithful.
Her basketball journey began at a very young age, as before she was too young to play officially, Makenna spent a great deal of time in gyms accompanying her older sisters to practice and games.
“I have had a ball in my hands for as long as I can remember. Growing up, I was always at games and practices. When I was 3 years old, I would dribble along the sidelines and do what my sister’s middle school team was doing at practice,” Douthitt explained. “I was 5 years old when I began participating in the fundamental clinic that Joe Riley led on Saturday mornings.”
According to Makenna, “I never aspired to play collegiate basketball; I was just focused on getting my degree. It wasn’t until about two years ago that my travel ball coaches made me realize I had a shot at the next level.”
Douthitt hasn’t accomplished all she has, both in the classroom and on the court, by resting on her laurels. Her dedication to her craft has allowed her to see continuous improvement in her game. As her attention now turns to the college game, Makenna focuses on the little things to help improve her game.
“In preparation for the college transition, I’m focusing on all of the ‘little things’ when I practice. Mentally, I am preparing for the changes, but remembering that at the end of the day, I am still just playing the game I love,” Douthitt explained.
With that statement, Makenna demonstrates her understanding of the bigger picture, to that which is most important in life, on the court and in the classroom. Speaking of the classroom, Douthitt is as high an achiever academically as she is on the playing fields and court.
Douthitt, whose father Phil serves as the associate dean of Academic Affairs at Potomac State, greatly values the importance of education. Along those lines, she is thankful of the education she received at Frankfort High School.
According to Douthitt, “I can’t speak highly enough of Frankfort High School, especially on the topic of academics. The teachers and staff truly care about their students, both academically and personally. They are always rooting for you to be the best you can be. I’ve experienced teachers who are passionate about what they teach, which makes all the difference. It’s easier to learn that way.”
In addition to teachers and coaches at Frankfort, Makenna credits the unbelievable support of family and the Frankfort community at large for helping undergird her success.
“God blessed me with an amazing support system. My family is always so supportive. I wouldn’t be who I am without them. Dad, Mom, Taylor, Lauren, my aunts and uncles, especially Aunt Susan and Aunt Linda, Mike Linn, and other family friends are on the sidelines whenever possible. Dale too; he is always there,” Douthitt stated.
Also, according to Makenna, “Grammy and Pap Pap were my biggest fans, though they weren’t physically present this year. The Frankfort community is wonderful in the way they support our athletic team. We have made many friends through basketball, which is a testament to how great our community is.”
Makenna Douthitt is a fan favorite, a coach’s favorite, a teacher’s favorite, and a teammate’s favorite. Her solid gold character and dedication to being the best player and person she can be has served her and her team well. These traits will carry with her as she transitions to the college game at Potomac State, making her, and no doubt her teammates and the program, better than when she started.