J.T. SIMMS, CHARLESTON DAILY MAIL
February 21, 2012
MADISON There was really no doubt that Makenzie White was going to be a basketball player.
"I had a little rim at my house," White said. "I used to shoot at it until I could play."
She could hardly wait to play on a real court, and got her first opportunity at six years old playing in the Washington District buddy league.
On Friday night, the girl who could not wait to get on a basketball court played her final home game for Scott High School. She also scored the 2,000th point of her prep career, placing her solidly among the top scorers in the state's history.
Along the way White tried other sports.
"I used to play softball and Little League baseball until I was 12," she said. "I played a little golf here and there."
Fortunately for the Skyhawks she stuck with basketball. Since her arrival the Scott girls basketball team has amassed a record of 79-21 and has not finished a season ranked lower than third in the Associated Press Class AA poll.
The Skyhawks have played in the last two Class AA state championship games, losing to juggernaut Summers County teams each time. White and Scott broke the Bobcats' 105-game win streak earlier this season.
Currently ranked No. 2, Scott is one of the favorites to win the championship.
Along the way, White has been a model of consistency as far as statistics. The 5-foot-8 guard averaged 18.1 points a game as a freshman and 21 a game this year. She was a second team All-State pick as a freshman and a first team selection the past two years leading to being a top Player of the Year candidate this season.
"What don't I like about basketball," White said. "The physical part, the speed, the intensity."
She began playing travel ball in the fourth grade.
As a member of her middle school team White attended her first basketball camp at West Virginia University.
"I started going up there for team camp and then I started going for individual camp," she said. "(WVU coaches) started getting interested."
The summer before White began her high school career, WVU Coach Mike Carey offered her a scholarship and she accepted.
Actually both the offer and acceptance were unofficial until last fall, when Carey came through with his promise and White hers as she signed a National Letter of Intent to play for the Mountaineers.
"I had the biggest smile on my face," White said. "I had always wanted to play there, so when he talked to me about it I was like 'take me now.'"
She never visited other schools or looked elsewhere.
"It helped me stay focused on my high school season," she said.
Her freshman season the Skyhawks were a veteran squad with several players who had been to the State Tournament as freshmen. As a highly touted freshman White had to try and fit in with her teammates. That was not always a smooth transition. Scott was eliminated in sectional play in 2009.
The next year was much better as the Skyhawks' veterans and White had learned to work together much better. They challenged Summers County but fell short in the title game.
Last season was supposed to be a rebuilding year as the vast majority of the players had little experience or were freshmen. The team was White's to lead and she put it on her shoulders and carried it to another state tournament runner-up finish.
In the first round she tied a State Tournament record with 37 points. She then scored 24 as the Skyhawks upset second-seeded Ravenswood.
White looks back at films of games from her freshman and sophomore years now and grimaces.
"I was everywhere. The turnovers, wow," she said with a sigh. "I've matured a lot, gotten smarter, a better basketball IQ, and not out of control."
Scott Coach John Porter has watched his young star develop.
"She's gotten much better with her decision making," he said. "Mentally, she is realizing what has to be done.
"She's done a real good job of leading this years. The other players listen to her."
Her teammates aren't the only ones. In her spare time White helps coach youngsters on local travel teams.
She is just about ready to take her talents to Morgantown.
"Other than not winning (the championship) the last two years it's been everything I hoped it would be," White said of her prep career. "I just want to win this year."
She is also the top returning vote getter from last year's Player of the Year voting and a leading candidate this year.
"I don't think there is anyone better," Porter said.
There is certainly nobody around this year who has accomplished what Makenzie White has.
(c) 2012 the Charleston Daily Mail (Charleston, W.Va.)
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