The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

July 3, 2013

WV Hornets are poised for national AAU event

From Staff Reports

— The qualifying and the fundraising are behind them.

Now, a Fayetteville-based AAU girls basketball team — the WV Hornets — is poised to participate in the Division I National AAU Tournament at the Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla. July 8-13.

The team, coached by Phil Samples, Brent Conley, Cayla Rhodes and Jeff Reeves, is comprised of talented players from several area middle schools. According to Samples, the team was put together five days before the WV District Statewide AAU Tournament in late April at Sissonville High School.

In district pool play, the Hornets went 2-1 and earned the No. 1 seed for Sunday bracket play. In the championship game, they lost in overtime to the WV Southern Xpress. The top two teams advance to the national event.

The WV Hornets include Aaliyah Williams, Beckley-Stratton Middle; Emily Reeves, Collins Middle; Faith Norris, Fayetteville Middle; Morgan Miller, Summers County Middle; Hailey Harold, Shady Spring Middle; Zoe Smith, Ripley Middle; Abigail Gwinn, Shady Spring Middle; and Kendall Malay, Fayetteville Middle.

Two other players participated in the district tournament —  Brittney and Whittney Justice from Summers County Middle School — but will be unable to play in Florida.

“All these young ladies had stellar middle school careers at their respective schools,” said Samples, who added that many of the girls were part of their team’s county or conference championship squads.

As part of their summer preparations, the Hornets have been participating in the City of Beckley Summer League, playing in the High School Division.

Samples has helped guide three other teams to the National AAU Tournament stage. Previous trips occurred with a boys team from the Fayetteville-Oak Hill area in 1998, a boys squad in 2003, and a girls unit from the Fayetteville area in 2007. Rhodes, who’s helping coach the 2013 team, was a member of that 2007 girls squad.

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