In reality, Fairmont Senior’s Anysa Jordan had so little left to prove.
Individual notoriety? She nailed that down when she earned first-team All-State honors as a sophomore in the 2016-17 season. State championship? She also found that in her sophomore year, when she led the Polar Bears to their first title of head coach Corey Hines’ tenure. Long-term security? She checked that box when she committed to play Division I college basketball at Eastern Kentucky back in November.
Jordan entered her senior season having already achieved virtually everything someone can set out to accomplish during their high school career, and after a serious knee injury cost her all but the first two games of her junior year, she had every excuse to take it easy on herself and coast through her final season in a Fairmont Senior uniform, knowing she’d already given her school everything it could have expected her to.
Fortunately for the Polar Bears, however, Jordan didn’t see it that way.
“As soon as I got hurt, I knew I would have to work and come back stronger,” Jordan said. “That whole period of time I wasn’t playing, there wasn’t a doubt in my mind we would be [back in the state tournament].”
Jordan faced her uphill recovery battle head-on, and returned to her senior year as dominant as ever. She averaged a double-double, 20 points and 10 rebounds, to go with four blocks per game.
Unsurprisingly, those numbers played a major role in getting the Polar Bears right back to where she expected them to be — the state tournament in Charleston, where they won their second title in three years with a 51-39 victory over Wyoming East, a game in which Jordan scored 15 points and grabbed three rebounds.
Jordan showed not only a remarkable skill set, but also a determination that seemed to inspire everyone around her. Because of that, the West Virginia Sports Writers Association chose her to be the captain of the Class AA All-State team.
“[Jordan’s] a difference-maker,” Hines said. “What she does is contagious. She sets a trend, I tell her that all the time. We don’t always shoot the ball well, but the way we rebound, we give ourselves second and third chances, and that starts with Anysa.”
Joining Jordan on the the Class AA first-team All-State list are three players her team faced in the state tournament: Frankfort senior Abby Beeman and Wyoming East seniors Emily Saunders and Jazz Blankenship.
Beeman was a one-girl show throughout the year, averaging 23.7 points, 8.0 assists, 5.5 rebounds and 5.0 steals.
Saunders, a 6-foot-5 center, put together another dominant season, finishing with averages of 13.7 points, 6.8 rebounds and 4.2 blocks per game.
Blankenship served as the main scoring force for the Warriors, averaging 17.6 points and 4.2 assists.
Filling out the rest of the first-team are senior Laila Arthur (Sissonville), senior Emily Riggs (Bridgeport), senior Lakyn Adkins (Wayne) and sophomore Baylee Goins (Nitro).
Arthur led the state in scoring, entering the state tournament having scored 25.4 points per game while also averaging 6.6 rebounds, 4.5 assists and four steals.
Riggs led the Tribe with 19.5 points per game in a season that included a 39-point game against eventual state champion Fairmont Senior, and Adkins averaged 14.3 points for the Pioneers.
Goins finished with 23.4 points, 7.9 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 3.7 steals and 2.9 blocks per game.
The second team is captained by Chapmanville senior Kaylee Blair. She is joined by North Marion junior Taylor Buonamici, Fairmont Senior senior Courtney Wilfong, Nicholas County senior Anna Hamilton, Bluefield junior Jaisah Smith, Lincoln sophomore Victoria Sturm, Wyoming East sophomore Skylar Davidson and Logan freshman Peyton Ilderton.
North Marion senior Hannah Shriver is the third-team captain.