By Tyler Jackson
Skylar Davidson has had a storybook career.
As a freshman, the Wyoming East point guard tore her ACL and had to watch from the bench as her team lost in the Class AA state title game. The following year she again finished second, losing in that title game.
As a junior, she failed to qualify for the state tournament.
Tired of coming in second, she did something about it.
The senior went out with a bang, playing 94 minutes in three state tournament games. In doing so, she guided her team to the Class AA state championship game, where East defeated Parkersburg Catholic 61-50.
Second place is now a thing of the past for Davidson, who will end her high school career with the highest honor in her classification as the captain of the Class AA first-team all-staters as voted on by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.
The all-state selection is Davidson’s third overall — she was a second-teamer in 2019 and a first-teamer in 2020. In her final season she averaged 16.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, 6.4 assists and 6.3 steals per game.
“I think this year, taking on the leadership role was huge,” Davidson said. “A lot of our girls followed and everybody played their role. I think I even had to embrace a role. I stepped up my scoring. I’ve always been a player that likes playing defense and getting my teammates the ball. This year I added to my scoring and I knew if a game broke down I could get a bucket or get something going.”
Davidson embracing her role as the leader on and off the court was part of her team’s success. That included convincing her teammates to buy into the roles around her. One such benefactor was sophomore teammate Abby Russell, who joins Davidson on the first-team.
Russell, a more than capable scorer as a guard, bought into what Davidson and her coaches were teaching and often guarded the opposing team’s best player. She finished the season averaging 10.9 points per game to go along with 4.6 steals per game.
“She definitely took a big step this year, especially from last year,” Davidson said. “Her biggest thing was also confidence. When she would make a mistake she would get down on herself and my biggest job for her was to keep her head up. Any time she missed a shot I told her she was going to make the next one and she started believing it. She was also a player that would get going off of defense. Her defense was phenomenal this year. She would guard every team’s best player which helped us out a lot.”
Davidson and Russell aren’t the only pair of teammates on the first-team. Joining them are the Parkersburg Catholic duo of Aaliyah Brunny and Leslie Huffman.
Brunny, a senior, averaged 18.5 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.8 steals per game, capping her career with her fourth all-state selection. The athletic wing was the captain of the second-teamers in 2018 and 2020 and a first-teamer in 2019. She helped guide the Crusaderettes to 92 wins and four state tournaments, losing just one regular season game along the way.
“Aaliyah Brunny is the most athletic young lady I’ve ever coached,” Catholic head coach Marty Vierheller said. “She’s blessed. She really is. When you look at potential matchups, she adds an element of speed and versatility that make it difficult for other teams to match up to. I could list her at any position on the floor. If that’s the case what are you going to do to match up defensively?
“Aaliyah in her four years here really has grown up as much as any other player I’ve coached. She’s really matured into a special young player and woman.”
Huffman, a junior, averaged 19.9 points, 6.8 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 3.6 steals per game. She was a second-team all-stater as a freshman and notches her second consecutive first-team selection on the strength of a season that saw Parkersburg Catholic take a perfect record to Charleston for the second straight year.
“She’s the best defender I’ve ever coached,” Vierheller said. “You combine her physical toughness and her willingness to buy in with the offensive skills she has and we have something very special. If you have someone that talented and is one of your hardest workers, you better count your blessings and that’s exactly what she is. It sounds cliche, but that’s what we see every day in practice.”
Joining the East and Catholic duos on first-team are Magnolia’s Mady Winters, Ravenswood’s Annie Hunt, Frankfort’s Maria Perdew and Charleston Catholic’s Sydney Bolles.
Winters, a senior, went out with a bang. Coming back from an ACL injury that cost her most of her junior season, she averaged 28.1 points, 17.8 rebounds and 3.9 blocks per game. In doing so she became the program’s all-time leading scorer with 1,531 points and grabbed over 1,000 career rebounds. This is her first first-team selection as she was elected to second-team as sophomore and third as a freshman.
Hunt, a senior, averaged 16 points per game. In her final season she helped revive Ravenswood, guiding the team to the state tournament for the first time since 2012. She was a second-team selection in 2020.
Perdew, a junior, averaged 25.6 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. She helped the Falcons return to the state tournament after failing to do so a year ago. This is her first all-state selection.
Bolles, a senior, led Charleston Catholic back to the state tournament for the first time since 2018. She averaged 17.1 points and 7.4 rebounds per game but some of her best work came on defense as she came away with 1.2 steals and an astonishing 5.5 blocks per game. The all-state selection is the first of her career.
Captaining the second-teamers is another Lady Warrior in Daisha Summers. The junior averaged 10 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. Joining her is the Summers County duo of seniors Gavin Pivont (14.4 ppg, 6.9 rpg) and Taylor Isaac (14.7 ppg, 2.5 spg), St. Marys senior Kylie Wright (14.1 ppg, 7.4 rpg), Williamstown senior Nicole Reynolds (12.5 ppg, 5.4 apg), Ritchie County sophomore Rebekah Rupert (14.1 ppg, 10.8 rpg), Petersburg senior Jenna Burgess (14 ppg) and Mingo Central senior Scarlet Thomason.
Complete List below video
CLASS AA All-State Girls Basketball
As selected by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association
Skylar Davidson, Wyoming East; Sr. (Captain)
Aaliyah Brunny, Parkersburg Catholic; Sr.
Leslie Huffman, Parkersburg Catholic; Jr.
Mady Winters, Magnolia; Sr.
Annie Hunt, Ravenswood; Sr.
Maria Perdew, Frankfort; Jr.
Abbie Russell, Wyoming East; Soph.
Sydney Bolles, Charleston Catholic, Sr.
Taylor Isaac, Summers County, Sr.
Gavin Pivont, Summers County, Sr.
Kylie Wright, St. Marys; Sr.
Nicole Reynolds, Williamstown; Sr.
Daisha Summers, Wyoming East; Jr. (Captain)
Rebekah Rupert, Ritchie County , Soph.
Jenna Burgess, Petersburg; Soph.
Scarlett Thomason, Mingo Central; Sr.
Honorable Mention: Hannah Blankenship, Wyoming East; Hollee Blair, Chapmanville; Jenna Boice, Parkersburg Catholic; Madison Clark, Wyoming East; Madisyn Curry, Mingo Central; Abby Darnley, Buffalo; Kayla Lantz, Petersburg; Beyonka Lee, Bluefield; Lainie Ross, Parkersburg Catholic; Zoe Davis, St. Marys; Lenieca Grimm, Magnolia; Lakyn Joy, Williamstown; Liv Meador, Summers County; Josie Moore, St. Marys; Sophie Nelson, Ritchie County; Hannah Rahin, Charleston Catholic; Regan Rudder, South Harrison; Sarah Saunders, Wyoming East; Halley Smith, Frankfort; Jaclyn Smith, Trinity; Paige Smith, Trinity; Jenna Wagoner, Mingo Central; Brooke Warner, Point Pleasant; Jayla Wiseman, Williamstown; Emma Wyer, Wirt County