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Each time Williamstown junior girls' basketball player Jaclyn Stith scores a basket, she recalls all the people who told her as an eighth grader that she couldn't play on the varsity team and uses her points as a way to quiet her critics.
That determination is just one reason why Stith was named the Grant County News All-County Miss Basketball. The selection was based on coaches' nominations and stats.
"Nobody believed I could ever do it, and I try to prove them wrong each time I play," said Stith, who averaged 16 points per game this season.
While Stith had her critics early on, coach Mark Wilhoit was not one of them. During Stith's eighth grade season, Wilhoit had seen enough to ask Stith to join the team.
"I am not surprised with how she has progressed as a player. You could tell early on that she was one of the special players, and she always worked hard. This year, I knew she would be our leader on offense, and she really did a good job of putting the team on her back," Wilhoit said.
And while she became one of the top players in the 32nd District and surpassed the 1,000-point career mark this season, Stith remains surprised with what she has accomplished on the basketball court.
"I never thought I would be this good. I just try to work really hard and I want to be as good as Chelsea Tolliver (Simon Kenton junior guard). There is still room for improvement," Stith said.
The biggest part of improvement took place this season with Stith believing she was as good as Wilhoit kept telling her she was.
"I told her all season she was one of the best players in the region, and she is now seeing it. She is an outstanding talent, and she will only get better. The sky is the limit for her," Wilhoit said.
As dominating as she is against the opposition, Stith is just as humble, preferring to credit her teammates for her ability to score.
"I was raised that nobody can take all the credit. There's always people who help you get to where you are, and I've got great teammates. I look to Chelsea West and Tori Wilhoit to get me the ball, and I get it to them when I can't score," Stith said.
Following last week's loss to Simon Kenton in the first round of the 32nd District Tournament, Stith said that her senior season is now upon her as far as basketball is concerned.
"It is so sad. I am really going to push my hardest every game. Your high school years go by so fast. I love basketball and I want to play in college. I am going to continue working hard and not get lazy in my senior year. I am looking forward to my senior year. We'll be good," Stith said.