The Times West Virginian

Prep Sports

March 16, 2014

Whaley puts together solid junior season

FAIRMONT — Fairmont Senior’s junior forward Kaden Whaley quietly put together the best season in Marion County this season.

After playing such a big role on the Lady Polar Bears’ squad, Whaley is this year’s Times West Virginian 2013-14 girls’ basketball player of the year.

It’s hard to say that one player plays such a big role, but Fairmont Senior coach Corey Hines likened Whaley to a familiar super hero after the standout junior missed the state tournament upon tearing her ACL in the regional championship.

“It’s like you’re Robin and you look up and don’t see Batman,” he said. “It’s rough.”

Fairmont Senior made a post-season run that ended in the semifinals of the state tournament without one of its key players. Had she been on the court, things could’ve been different.

“It’s hard to replace the experience and the 21 points per game and nine rebounds and running the floor,” Hines said of the importance of having Whaley on the floor. “You try to put your team together like a puzzle, and it’s hard to replace a piece like that.”

But despite falling to injury late in the year, Whaley led the Polar Bears in scoring and rebounding all season, netting 21.0 points and pulling down 9.0 rebounds per contest.

“She was the spark our team had all year. With her scoring anywhere from 15 to 20 points a game, she won a lot of games for us single-handedly,” senior forward Kelsey Morrone said of her teammate. “From a senior perspective, I’m glad I got to play with her for three years.”

The 6-foot-1 junior is what Hines called an athletic four — a forward who runs the floor like a guard.

It’s true, Whaley resembles a point guard or shooting guard at times, but she made her living in 2013-14 by setting up shop in the paint.

“She runs the baseline better than anyone I’ve ever seen. She knows how to pick the holes and pick the spots,” Hines noted. “She’s a great rebounder, too. Especially offensively. She gets a lot of points from tip-ins.”

But even more than the raw stats themselves, it’s how she does it on the court that stands out.

If you didn’t know any better, you’d think that she was sometimes invisible to the eye and ear of the opponent. Whether it be slapping hands with her teammates going into an and-one situation or swatting a shot away on the block or firing a perfect pass to her teammate for a transition bucket, Whaley does it almost without a sound.

Of course, she does have a voice. If you watch closely enough, you can see her building her teammates up in the huddle or easing the tension with a quick punch line, Hines said.

“I think what Kaden does is keep things light,” he said. “She'll crack a joke here and there to take some pressure off us.”

Rather than letting her voice echo throughout gyms across the state, Whaley let her play do the talking, leading by example on the court.

With teams focusing so much on Whaley early on in the season, it gave others the ability to step up and become more influential in the offense, adding a powerful dynamic to their team.

“The way she plays, she would sometimes get 10 steals in a game and draw a lot of double- and triple-teams,” Morrone said of Whaley’s style of play. “Even through that, she was able to capitalize and gave others an opportunity to score.”

Also, the relationship Whaley holds with junior guard Emily Stoller allowed the tandem to blossom throughout the season. It would be nothing to walk into a gym where the Lady Polar Bears were playing and see Stoller feeding Whaley with a no-look, behind-the-back pass for a score, much like Allen Iverson to Dikembe Mutombo in the 1990s.

“She and Emily share a dynamic,” Hines said of the duo. “They know what the other is going to do, and that makes it hard for teams to defend.”

But now, the question Hines and the Lady Polar Bears wonder is will she be ready for next season?

That’s a question that Hines got answered over the weekend in Charleston as he watched Whaley and the rest of his team after a tough 48-40 loss to Sissonville.

“She cried with the rest of the team,” the coach said. “To me, that tells me that she's going to do what it takes to get it done.”

For now, though, Whaley can enjoy the off-season as the Times West Virginian 2013-14 girls’ basketball player of the year.

Also being named to the Times West Virginian girls’ basketball team are Emily Stoller (FSHS), Ty Horton (FSHS), Megan Haller (NMHS), Anna Marie Moscufo (NMHS), Noca Singleton (NMHS), Brooklynn Weaver (EFHS), Felicity VanGilder (EFHS) and Mikayla Moore (EFHS).

Email Matt Welch at or follow on Twitter @MattWelch_TWV.

Text Only
Prep Sports
  • Different stressors lead to multiple issues for athletes

    Juggling multiple things as a teenager is never an easy task and can be quite taxing on your body — mentally and physically.
    There are many psychological and sociological reasons why teens participate in multiple sports or why they choose to specialize in one particular sport.

    July 20, 2014

  • Question marks linger at RB position for Bees

    Players come and go but when they leave, question marks are left behind.
    That’s the case for the East Fairmont football team as August quickly approaches.
    Last year the Bees leaned on a core of running backs to strengthen both the passing and ground attacks, with backs like Scotty Shroyer and Ronnie Mills lining up at all different kinds of positions.

    July 19, 2014

  • Boddy handoff mw.jpg Boddy poised to make leap to feature back

    It takes a unique skillset to do what Malik Boddy does for the Fairmont Senior football team.
    The running back/defensive back/return specialist steps into a more called-upon roll this season for the Polar Bears.
    But before you look at this season’s workload, you must look back on his past roles.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • (MAIN) Taylor kicking-MW.jpg Buonamici hopes to follow in Knight's footsteps

    “I’ve got to end it on a make,” Taylor Buonamici said after the ball she kicked narrowly missed the uprights at Duvall-Rosier Field.
    She placed the football back onto the tee, sized up the yellow field goal posts, took a deep breath and began her trek.
    Three steps back, two steps to the right.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Redmond comfortable leading Huskies’ power running game

    Football is known by many to be the sport of traditions.
    For North Marion’s football team, that tradition is being a smashmouth, downhill, physical football team. And that starts with the players carrying the football.

    July 15, 2014

  • Balance key to preventing youth sports burnout

    Unless you’ve just won a NASCAR race, burning out is not a good thing.
    All too often it seems that athletes are being pushed to a highly competitive level at a younger age each and every year.
    Studies from the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine have shown that an estimated 27 million youth in the United States between the ages of 6 and 18 play team sports; 60 million play at least one sport and 44 million play multiple sports.

    July 13, 2014

  • Bees’ OL poised to lead team in right direction

    Getting your team out of a funk can sometimes be a daunting task.
    For East Fairmont’s football team, it may seem that overcoming a 3-7 season could be a hard-fought battle. But don’t tell the offensive line that.
    “We just want to set a standard,” senior offensive lineman Jacob Brown said.

    July 12, 2014

  • One step closer to dream, Kesling signs with Garrett

    Getting where you want to be is a process. Fairmont Senior’s Johnny Kesling knows that.
    For Kesling, the next step in reaching the ranks of Division I baseball is to fine tune his skills.
    Kesling took that step Friday, signing to play baseball with Garrett County Community College, a junior college in Maryland.

    July 12, 2014

  • One step closer to dream, Kesling signs with Garrett

    Getting to where you want to be is a process. Fairmont Senior’s Johnny Kesling knows that.

    July 11, 2014

  • Young FSHS receivers ready to burst onto scene

    In high school sports, each year could be labeled as a rebuilding year as top players graduate and new ones emerge.
    While Fairmont Senior isn’t ready to call their season a rebuilding one, they will have a new group of playmakers stepping in at a key position: wide receiver.

    July 10, 2014

Featured Ads
Prep Sports Highlights
NDN Sports
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos