You know who they are.
Tiger. Yogi. Major. Bimbo.
Their last names hardly matter in West Virginia. They’ve got that one-name, instant recognition, as befits four of the greats.
And now, in girls basketball circles, there’s Gabby.
Wyoming East sophomore point guard Gabby Lupardus has rapidly established herself for her lightning-quick drives to the basket, pin-point passing and even her flying hair as she races downcourt.
She was the guiding force as the Warriors went 23-2 and captured the Class AA state championship. She averaged 14.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, 6.9 assists and 4.7 steals per game for East. It’s two losses, to AAA champion Morgantown and to Region 3 rival Summers County, came when she was severely hampered by an ankle injury.
Her performance has earned her the captaincy of the Class AA All-State team, as named by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.
Lupardus could have scored far more points a game, but she was surrounded with at least six teammates easily capable of scoring in double figures. She usually preferred to be the playmaker.
“Gabby is a pure point guard. She does what our team needs to win games,” coach Angie Boninsegna said. “But if she needs to score 25 points, she’ll score 25. If she needs a steal, she’ll get it. She does so many intangibles.”
If Lupardus had a perceived weakness as a freshman, it was outside shooting. She worked on it this season, as evidenced by her hitting 3 of 4 attempts in this year’s state tournament.
“Gabby is always working to improve her overall game,” Boninsegna said. “She always had a good outside shot, but she concentrated more on driving to the basket in the past.”
While Lupardus was out injured, she went to physical therapy three times a week. Wyoming East used her sparingly the final weeks of the regular season, but she always wanted to be in the lineup.
As good as her skills are, her leadership could be her greatest asset.
“It showed a lot about her character when she got hurt in the game against North Marion,” Boninsegna said. “She might have broken her ankle, but she sat on the bench with ice on her foot until the game was over. She cares about her teammates and wasn’t going to leave them.”
Lupardus joins Lincoln’s Hope Bray, Sissonville’s Karli Pinkerton and North Marion’s Megan Haller as returning first-teamers from last season.
Bray, a junior guard, averaged 19.8 points in leading the 24-2 Cougars to the state quarterfinals. She pulled down 7.4 rebounds per game and had 2.5 assists and 4.8 steals.
One of the top 3-point shooters in the state, Bray sank 43. Overall she was a 46 percent shooter from the floor.
Pinkerton was a do-it-all guard for the Indians, helping them to the 2015 championship and the runner-up spot this year.
The senior scored at a 17.5-point clip, and, like Lupardus, worked hard on passing, defense, rebounding — whatever it took — in addition to scoring.
Haller was the senior standout on a North Marion club that went 19-4 and reached the state quarterfinals.
She averaged 19 points and two steals a game for the Huskies.
Wayne’s Aeriel Adkins and Summers County’s Brittney Justice both moved from second to first team.
Adkins, last year’s second-team captain, gave the 18-6 Pioneers a double-double most nights. She averaged 13.6 points, 11.2 rebounds and nearly three steals and blocked shots a game.
Justice could play anywhere on the floor for the 22-3 Bobcats, who lost on a last-second shot by Sissonville in the state quarterfinals.
She averaged 23.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, 3.8 steals and 3 assists. She hit 62 percent of her shots from the floor.
Erica Bowles, a junior guard at Fairmont Senior, moves from third to first team.
Already a thousand-point scorer with another season to play, Bowles averaged 18.5 points for the Polar Bears, who compiled a 23-4 record before falling to Wyoming East in the AA final. She was both a smooth shooter and an unselfish playmaker.
The second team is captained by Pikeview 5-foot-11 senior Madison May, who ran the point on offense and was a post on defense. She averaged 28.6 points, 8.3 rebounds, 4.4 steals and 2.3 assists per game.
Two other seniors, Sissonville’s Madison Jones and Grafton’s Tessa Clark, repeated on the second team.
Summers County junior Whittney Justice, Wyoming East 6-4 freshman Emily Saunders and sophomores Dani Janutolo of Bluefield, Lucille Westfall of Roane County and Gracey Lamm of Lincoln complete the squad.
Sissonville’s Brooke Reed captains the third team. Other selectees are Westside’s Morgan Thomas, River View’s Katie Dobbs, Clay County’s Summer Alley, East Fairmont’s Felicity Van Gilder, North Marion’s Crista Tobin, Philip Barbour’s Chelsea Mayle and Bridgeport’s Gianina Renzelli.
CHARLESTON – The Class AA All-State Girls Basketball Team, as selected by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.
Aeriel Adkins, Wayne, 5-foot-10, f, so.
Erica Bowles, Fairmont Senior, 5-10, g, jr.
Hope Bray, Lincoln, 5-9, g, jr.
Megan Haller, North Marion, 5-6, g, sr.
Dena Jarrells, Tolsia, 5-7, g, fr.
Brittney Justice, Summers County, 5-8, f, jr.
Gabby Lupardus, Wyoming East, 5-foot-7, g, so. (Captain)
Karli Pinkerton, Sissonville, 5-5, g, sr.
Tessa Clark, Grafton, 6-3, c, sr.
Dani Janutolo, Bluefield, g, so.
Madison Jones, Sissonville, 5-3, g, sr.
Whittney Justice, Summers County, 5-7, g, jr.
Gracey Lamm, Lincoln, 5-5, g, so.
Madison May, Pikeview, 5-11, g/f, sr. (Captain)
Emily Saunders, Wyoming East, 6-4, c, fr.
Lucille Westfall, Roane County, 5-11, c, so.
Summer Alley, Clay County, 5-10, c, sr.
Katie Dobbs, River View, 5-10, c, jr.
Brooke Reed, Sissonville, 5-8, c, sr. (Captain)
Gianina Renzelli, Bridgeport, 5-5, g, jr.
Morgan Thomas, Westside, 6-2, c, jr.
Christa Tobin, North Marion, 5-6, g, jr.
Corrin Todd, Robert C. Byrd, 5-7, g, sr.
Felicity VanGilder, East Fairmont, 5-11, f, sr.
Alex Arnott, Oak Glen; Taylor Bailey, Herbert Hoover; Katie Beeman, Frankfort; Sarah Boggs, Clay County; Jia Coppola, Bluefield; Megan Davis, Wyoming East; Kaelyn Drainer, Grafton; Sierra Gabbert, Grafton; Anna Hamilton, Nicholas County; Ty Horton, Fairmont Senior; Madison Jeffries, Lincoln; Chloe Layne, Independence; Mikayla Long, Sissonville; Sydney Lyons, Keyser; Gracie Mann, James Monroe; Chelsea Mayle, Philip Barbour; Hailey McComas, Wayne; Macey Nuzum, East Fairmont; Madison Pfaff, Frankfort; Samantha Rohrbaugh, Petersburg; Kara Sandy, Wyoming East; Ashley Scott, PikeView; Casey Skeens, Poca; Bailey Stead, Weir; Abby Stoller, Fairmont Senior; Cassie Tallman, Ritchie County; Hannah Taylor, Summers County; Presley Tuttle, North Marion; Ali Westenhaver, Ravenswood; Mary Kate Westfall, Roane County.