Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

October 31, 2012

AARON SNYDER: Lawrence product going to Murray

Aaron Snyder
The Independent

ASHLAND — Taylor Porter will become the first Lawrence County Lady Bulldog to play Division I basketball.

The senior has verbally committed to Murray State University. She plans to sign with the school by mid-November.

A 5-foot-9 point guard, Porter averaged 21 points per game, 8.1 rebounds a game and 4.5 assists per contest during her junior season. She recorded her 1,000th career point during a 31-point game against Paintsville in February.

Porter also shot 42 percent from three-point range and about 80 percent from the free-throw line.

Said Lawrence County coach Roger Harless: “She’s got a lot of skill. She’s one of the best ball handlers around. She’s got a pretty good wingspan too, so when she’s playing defense, she can be wide.”

An outstanding work ethic and attitude also helped Porter achieve her dream. Colorado State, Georgetown, Pikeville, Campbellsville and Shawnee State were some other schools interested.

After taking part in an elite camp at Kansas State University this past summer, one former WNBA player didn’t know if she could play D-I because of her body size. However, after watching her play, she was convinced.

“She’s pretty strong for her size,” Harless remembered her saying.

Harless moved Porter to point guard in his first season, which was 2011-12. She had been playing forward.

“She could just handle the ball so well, and has a good knowledge of the game,” he said. “She’s like a coach on the floor.”

Stephens Snapping

Ironton senior Aaron Stephens is generating college interest for his longsnapping skills.

Also a wideout and defensive end, the 6-foot-3, 210-pounder has made a big impact for the Fighting Tigers this season under first-year coach Mark Vass. They open the playoffs at home against Bloom-Carroll on Friday.

Stephens is currently ranked among the top 30 longsnappers in the nation on Prokicker.com.

According to Vass, Cincinnati, Texas A&M, Akron and Ohio are among the schools interested.

Connor Coasting

Ashland Kittens basketball product Katelyn Connor could get some significant playing time this season at Coastal Carolina University.

Connor and the Lady Chanticleers open their season on Nov. 9 at College of Charleston.

As a sophomore last season, Connor appeared in 22 games. She drew back-to-back starts against Presbyterian College and UNC Asheville.

In all, she tallied 58 points, 34 rebounds and 12 blocks. She set single-game career-highs in points (nine), rebounds (eight) and blocks (three) during the season.

The 6-2 center also nailed her first career 3-pointer.

Salmons surging

Former Lawrence County head football coach Luke Salmons is finding himself wrapped up in another possible undefeated regular season.

Salmons coached for just three seasons at Lawrence County, but he guided the team to a 10-0 regular season (12-1 overall) in 2009 to follow an 0-11 mark in 2008, his first year with the Bulldogs.

Now in his second season at Cabell Midland (Huntington, W. Va.), Salmons and the Knights are one win away from the school’s first undefeated season. They host Hurricane on Friday.

Former Lawrence County assistants Matt Alto and Blake Price are also on Cabell Midland’s coaching staff.

The Knights are currently the No. 1 team in West Virginia in Class AAA.

Lions Looking Back

The second annual Boyd County basketball men’s and women’s alumni games and chili dinner is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 24, at Boyd County Middle School. Games will begin with the women at 5 p.m.

Any former Lion player interested in participating should contact Suzanne Griffith at suzanne.griffith@boyd.kyschools.us or (606) 571-9034 or Pete Fraley at pete.fraley@boyd.kyschools.us or (606) 922-0703.

Also, Boyd County will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the first Lions boys team to win the 16th Region by honoring the 1973 team during the Nov. 30 home opener against Ashland on Nov. 30 at Boyd County Middle School.

Phil Pratt and Davey Wooten were standouts on that team.

AARON SNYDER can be reached at asnyder@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2664.