The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest Sports

April 3, 2013

Akers helped Princeton reach Charleston

Tigerette guard named Register-Herald Girls Player of the Year

While not exactly a Cinderella team, Princeton was an improbable contestant at this year’s girls basketball state tournament.

The Tigerettes were small, but they played with heart and gusto — just like their leader, Mackenzie Akers, The Register-Herald’s inaugural girls basketball Player of the Year.

“We had eight seniors and we wanted to do something big before we left,” Akers said. “We wanted to make a bang.”

Princeton did just that, compiling a 19-6 record and upsetting George Washington 71-66 on its own floor to earn a trip to the Class AAA quarterfinals.

Akers made the Tigerettes go, averaging 25.2 points, 5 assists, 2.6 rebounds and 3 steals per game.

Coach Debbie Ball said Akers set goals for herself before the season.

“Mackenzie wanted to go upstate, to be first-team all-state, to pass 1,000 points and to break the school scoring record,” Ball said. “She did that.

But not without help.

“When someone scores all those points, on some teams you would have had a lots of problems,” Ball said. “But Mackenzie’s teammates helped her accomplish a lot of those goals.”

There was no jealousy, just plenty of effort and pride from a team whose tallest starter was 6-foot Rachel Surface. Akers is only 5-6, and second-leading scorer Marissa Mullins stands in at 5-3.

“We were a little team in Princeton playing in a hard conference (MSAC), and a lot of people didn’t expect us to do as well,” Akers said. “We wanted to prove people wrong and get somewhere.”

She had a great role model in her sister Tesla, a former all-stater herself at Princeton and a standout the past four seasons at Ferrum College. Four years older than Mackenzie, she was recently named an honorable mention All-American.

“Tesla has helped me get to where I am. She had big shoes to follow,” Mackenzie said. “She got All-American at Ferrum and that motivates me to be just as good.”

She’ll begin her own college career this fall at Marshall University. She considered several offers before settling on the Thundering Herd.

“I told the coach I wanted to come and I wanted to contribute,” Akers recalled. “He told me how much playing time I get is up to me.”

The Register-Herald sports staff — Cam Huffman (sports editor), Gary Fauber (assistant sports editor), Dan Stillwell (staff writer), J. Daniel Rollins (staff writer) and Rusty Udy (sports clerk) — voted on the award. Fan support was also considered.

Akers won with 24 votes — five more than Westside sophomore center Hope Lester.

Lester, a 6-foot center, averaged 18 points and 11 rebounds per game for the 25-2 Renegades, who finished runner-up at states to Bridgeport.

Nicholas County’s Shealyn Shafer (20.5 points, 12.3 rebounds, 5.1 steals, 3.2 assists), Greenbrier East’s Bianca André (19.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 2.1 blocks) and Fayetteville’s Jessica Brown (22.6 points, 12.7 rebounds, 5 blocks, 5 steals) were the other finalists.

Jessica Brown won the fan favorite award, receiving the most support from e-mails and Tweets.

— E-mail: dstillwell

Text Only
Latest Sports
  • Herd lands ‘Other D’Antoni’

    Danny D’Antoni hasn’t been a West Virginia resident in nearly 40 years. That will soon change, and his family could not be happier.
    D’Antoni will be introduced as Marshall’s new head men’s basketball coach at a press conference at 2 p.m. today. Athletic director Mike Hamrick announced the hiring via Twitter Thursday afternoon.

    April 24, 2014

  • 042514 thompson Shady’s Thompson clearing hurdles with ease

    A fall while running hurdles can be a dangerous thing.
    Unless you’re Shady Spring’s Lyndsey Thompson.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • It’s time for spring cleaning inside my crowded cranium

    My head has been filled with more thoughts than a Hallmark store and more nuggets than a McDonald’s freezer in recent days, so I decided it was time to clear them out and get at least some of them in print.
    Here goes.

    April 24, 2014

  • Treadway Memorial wooden bat tournament begins today

    It’s time to break out the sticks in Coal City.
    The Jeff Treadway Memorial Wooden Bat Tournament will be held tonight and Saturday when the host team Independence, welcomes visitors Bluefield, Greenbrier West and James Monroe to Joe Goddard Field.

    April 24, 2014

  • Dan D’Antoni will be next Marshall men's basketball coach

    Dan D’Antoni will be named the new head men’s basketball coach at Marshall, a source with direct knowledge of the hiring confirmed to The Register-Herald on Thursday.

    April 24, 2014

  • Hamrick deserves praise for pursuit of D’Antoni

    Sometimes gambles don’t pay off, but some risks simply have to be taken.

    April 23, 2014

  • Gettin’ ready for gobbler season: Step 5 — safety

    My brothers in camo, I could not do this series on preparing for gobbler season without talking to you about the aspects of turkey hunting safety. If you haven’t picked up on it yet, I have trouble calling myself an expert on anything. Unfortunately, however, I do have a lot of experience in this area.

    April 23, 2014

  • 042414 woodrow 2 Woodrow hangs on to knock off No. 5 Patriots

    What was supposed to be a pitchers duel turned into anything but Wednesday at Woodrow Wilson High School, but there was not shortage of drama in the Class AAA baseball showdown between No. 8 Woodrow Wilson and No. 5 George Washington.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • WVU post-spring depth chart filled with few surprises

    Although the contents brought about as much of a surprise as a over the hill balloon at a 40th birthday party, there were a few interesting nuggets in the post-spring depth chart that West Virginia University sent out Wednesday morning.

    April 23, 2014

  • Herd staffer completes Boston Marathon

    As Travis Epling watched the events of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings as they were unfolding, he couldn’t help feeling a connection.

    April 23, 2014