By Dave Morrison

NEW RICHMOND – There will be some smooth Jazz playing at Concord beginning next season.

Wyoming East standout two-guard Jazz Blankenship has verbally committed to the Mountain Lions program.

Blankenship became the fifth Lady Warriors player to commit to or sign to play basketball at the college level from the last three teams.

Others were Emily Saunders who has verbally committed to Tennessee, West Virginia state player of the year Gabby Lupadrus is at Youngstown State, Kara Sandy is at Bluefield State and Haley Butcher plays at Potomac State.

Blankenship spent the summer touring several college campuses, but she said a familiar feeling is what drew her to Concord.

“They kind of remind me of the (Wyoming) East team,” Blankenship said. “They all hang out together, they are like a family and that’s how we are at East. I went down to visit and hung out with the girls and we had a great time. I knew that it was the right choice.”

The Mountain Lions, coached by long-time coach and state native Kenny Osborne, will not only get an outstanding player, but also a reliable and dependable team member in Blankenship.

Concord is getting a gritty and reliable player in Blankenship.

The senior has never missed a game at Wyoming East, playing in all 76 games the Lady Warriors have played during her career. The 5-foot-6 shooter already has several records at Wyoming East, including season 3 pointers (81 her sophomore season) and career 3s (188). Blankenship has already broken the 1,000-point barrier (1,133 points) and is believed to have a shot at the career scoring record (that record has not been found, but it is believed to be held by Cassidy Smith, a former Lady Warriors player who played at Concord).

Blankenship has 139 career rebounds, 170 assists and 135 steals.

While her true position is shooting guard, she has run the point for the Lady Warriors, most recently at the state tournament when Lupardus and Skyler Davidson were out of action with knee injuries.

The Lady Warriors return a good core from the team that lost in the Class AA state championship game to North Marion. Blankenship, Saunders, a 6-foot-6 force inside and Davidson, a point guard as well as role players like Katie Daniels and Brooke Russell are ready to step into key roles.

“I’ve heard a lot of people say we aren’t going to be as good as we were, as good as we have been in the past,” Blankenship said. “But I think we will have a good team and if they think that, we will surprise some people.”

The Lady Warriors are less than two weeks from opening practice and they will open the season hosting Woodrow Wilson Dec. 12 at 7 p.m.