Girls basketball: Multi-sport stars Jones, Pinkerton stay busy for Indians
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- While a lot of good can come with the three-week approved summer practice period for high school athletics, Sissonville Athletic Director Rich Skeen sees some bad with it as well.
That's because for athletes that play multiple sports going from workouts, practices and games from one sport to another can be quite daunting.
Take for example Sissonville multi-sport standouts Karli Pinkerton and Madison Jones, who for the past three days alone have been put through the ringer in trying to take advantage of the allowed period and get all their commitments in.
Jones and Pinkerton have been working the eighth annual Sissonville basketball camp from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., gone on to participate in soccer and also have had basketball games scheduled throughout the week. Both play AAU on the weekends, as well.
Skeen, who also serves as both the girls and boys basketball coach to go along with his athletic director position, has seen his viewpoint change a bit over the additional time with the players over the summer.
"I use to love the three-week period and even though I love being around the kids, it's really hard on them," Skeen said. "It has its good and bad. In a school our size, there are many kids that play two or even three sports.
"To me, its murder on them. It's not bad for the coaches but it's bad for the players. You don't really get a head start on things. It's really to maintain and get a few games in here and there. You try and get as much out of it as you can."
Despite the long days balancing all their sports, Pinkerton and Jones wouldn't have it any other way.
"It will be kind of difficult and I have a busy day every day," said Pinkerton, who plays on the basketball, soccer and softball squads for Sissonville. "I would be bored and just want to go shoot anyway. It gives me something to do. I love it."
Jones and Pinkerton not only play multiple sports for Sissonville, but excel in all of them as well. The sophomores-to-be were the top two freshmen basketball players in the area with Jones just nudging out Pinkerton as the Kanawha Valley Freshman of the Year last season.
"I'm getting a lot of work in, and it's packed, but I am looking forward to it, though," said Jones, who is on the Indians basketball and soccer teams. "It doesn't bother me. I would rather be doing this than sitting at home. I would be finding a way to play ball. I have always been like this."
Jones, a Class AA All-State second-team selection, averaged 17 points per game and received a scholarship offer from Division I Morehead State before her freshman season started. Pinkerton, meanwhile, earned honorable mention All-State accolades, scoring 15.2 points per contest.
The two, along with Brooke Reed, another Sissonville multi-sport standout, formed an impressive freshman trio that helped the Indians to a 16-win season in basketball, and gives Skeen extremely high hopes for the present and future.
"To say we are looking forward to this year would be an understatement," Skeen said. "We are really looking forward to this year. You have to be happy knowing we started three freshmen, went 16-7 and got ranked in the top 10 for four weeks."
Skeen believes that with a year under their belt and an offseason continuing with the three- week practice period, that his talented incoming sophomores should be even better next season.
"The girls are in the gym all the time," Skeen said. "Not only will they be better because they will be a year older but they are working on things that hindered them or were their weak points the past year. They have got high goals and it's fun to coach players like that."
Once the three-week period ends and the school season begins in August, Sissonville soccer Coach Ali Sadeghian will get the first opportunity to coach the trio, and much like basketball, big things are expected.
Jones finished fourth in the area in goals with 28, while Pinkerton was close behind with 19 and Reed was the goalkeeper for an Indians team that went 20-3, and was ranked No. 1 in Class AA/A before falling to Charleston Catholic in the regional tournament.
Once soccer ends, Skeen will get the next crack at the three, and finally, softball Coach Niki Gross will have Pinkerton back starting at shortstop for a Sissonville team that finished one win shy of a State Tournament berth, losing to eventual back-to-back state champion Wayne in the regional final.