Mineral grads making splash on the college hardwood

Mineral Daily News-Tribune
Abby Beeman
Hayley Malone
Jensen Knotts
Kearstin Lucas
Lexi Turner
Makenna Douthitt

By Chapin Jewell

Tribune Correspondent

There are currently six Mineral County grads playing collegiate basketball and all six have had a productive last couple days on the college hardwood.  

That college hardwood includes one Division II school, one Division III school, and two of our local junior colleges, Potomac State and Allegany College of Maryland.

Three are sophomores, the sensational Abby Beeman at Shepherd University and Keyser’s dynamic duo of Lexi Turner and Kearstin Lucas are at Potomac State.  The three talented freshmen, Jansen Knotts, Makenna Douthitt and Haley Malone, all hail from Frankfort, and are at Waynesburg University, Potomac State, and Allegany College of Maryland, respectively.

Abby Beeman is in an interesting situation in that her full-season freshman campaign saw her literally re-write the record books, as only a freshman. There is to be no real follow up season this year as Shepherd’s season in the Pennsylvania Athletic Conference has effectively been cancelled, save for a literal few games that have been scheduled.

One of those games, the first one in fact, took place on Sunday and Abby Beeman made the most of her opportunity in the spotlight. Shepherd’s Lady Rams took on Division I Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, in a game that was broadcast on ESPN +.  Liberty not only is a Division I program, but the Flames entered the contest with an impressive 14-5 record, having essentially played a full season. This was Shepherd’s first game.

Neither Division II Shepherd or Beeman disappointed with a high level of play that saw the Rams leading 18-10 after one period and 34-32 at halftime. Liberty pulled away somewhat in the second half, earning a 73-65 victory, but Shepherd was lauded for their competitive play.

Beeman was her normal sensational self, almost earning a triple double with an impressive four period effort that saw her tally 20 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. In the effort, Beeman showed once again that she belongs on the college court at every level, excelling with every opportunity she gets.

Shepherd currently has games scheduled on Feb. 27 and March 4 against Southern Virginia, and March 9 and March 13 against Indiana University of Pennsylvania.  

Frankfort graduate Jansen Knotts is currently starting at Division III Waynesburg University, where his impact has been felt from game one and continues to grow larger with each passing game.  

In his college debut, Knotts scored five points, grabbed five rebounds, had one steal and one block against Westminster.  That production has grown after five games, with Knotts now nearly averaging a double-double, with 11 points, nine rebounds, 1.8 steals, 1.6 assists and 32 minutes of playing time per game.  

Knotts points per game have literally followed an upward progression game by game, with points totals per game going from five to nine to 11 to 14 to 16.  As Knotts’ point total has improved steadily, so to has the play of his Yellow Jackets.

Waynesburg started the season with three straight losses but has followed that 0-3 start with back to back victories against Franciscan (90-71) and Bethany (68-43).  Against Franciscan, Knotts led the team in rebounding with 16 while also scoring 14 points.  Against Bethany, Knotts led the team in points with 16 and was tied for the lead on the team in rebounding with nine.

This is excellent progession and a big impact from anyone, let alone a true freshman.

Waynesburg has games scheduled against Chatham and Washington and Jefferson this week.

The Lady Catamounts of Potomac State to this point have played only one game on the season, that being an unfortunate 112-34 loss on the road at WVU Tech. The NAIA Golden Bears of WVU Tech had up to that point already played 16 teams and now stand with a record of 9-8.  Potomac State stands at 0-1 after their inaugural contest.

The good news in the opening game loss is that all three Mineral County graduates on the Potomac State roster scored and played a tremendous amount of minutes.  Lexi Turner and Mackenna Douthitt both started the game and played 28 minutes and 30 minutes respectively.  Kearstin Lucas contributed 18 minutes.

Of the trio, Lexi Turner led the way with seven points, one rebound and one steal in the contest. Makenna Douthitt contributed six points and one rebound; Kearstin Lucas tallied six points, two rebounds, two steals and one assist in the contest.

For Douthitt, this was her first collegiate game and start after a storied career at Frankfort that saw her score over 1,000 points and become the Lady Falcons’ all-time leading rebounder.

For Turner and Lucas, this represented the first game of their sophomore seasons after very productive seasons a year ago as freshmen.  In the 2019-2020 campaign, Turner played in 20 games and averaged 26 minutes per game along with 9.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 1.4 steals.

In the 2019-2020 campaign, Lucas played in 19 games and averaged16.9 minutes per game along with 9.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 1.4 assists.

It is expected that Douthitt, Turner and Lucas will all three contribute greatly to the Lady Catamounts’ season. Potomac State is scheduled to play Bryant and Stratton College this week before matchups next week against neighbors and rivals Garrett College and Allegany College of Maryland next week.

Speaking of Allegany College of Maryland, Frankfort’s Haley Malone is set to take the court as a starter for the Lady Trojans as they begin their season on Tuesday and Wednesday against Garrett College, and then on March 3 and March 8 against Potomac State.  Currently, Allegany College has an eight game schedule.

Malone played a key role in the Frankfort Lady Falcon’s ultra successful teams of the last few seasons and continues to improve her game, now set to tip off at the college level.  The 5’9’ freshman forward is listed as the tallest player on the Trojan’s roster that consists of three local and five out of area players.  

Abby Beeman, Jansen Knotts, Lexi Turner, Kearstin Lucas, Makenna Douthitt and Haley Malone all six thrilled Mineral County basketball fans with their storied and fantastic careers at Frankfort and Keyser High Schools. Beeman, Turner and Lucas showed what they could do at the college level already a season ago.  Now Knotts, Douthitt and Malone are showing what they can do in the college ranks as well.  

We’ll keep you updated.