McDERMOTT — Keirah Potts, simply put, put together an almost perfect Senior Night on Monday night.
That’s because Potts —the Northwest Lady Mohawks’ sole senior basketball player this season and who celebrated her Senior Night in their one-point win over Minford — put pen to paper on a national Letter-of-Intent immediately after the game, officially announcing her intention to play college basketball for Muskingum University.
The signing ceremony took place in the Northwest High School cafeteria, as Potts was flanked by her parents Dewey Potts and Krista Eichenlaub; her step-parents Anthony Eichenlaub and Debbie Potts; Northwest High School girls basketball coach and athletic director Dave Frantz; her Lady Mohawk teammates and several other family members and friends.
The six-foot, one-inch and lanky Potts is a three-year starter for Northwest, and was an all-Southeast District Division III Special Mention selection last season — as chosen by the Ohio Prep Sports Writers Association.
This year’s individual postseason honors have yet to be announced of course, but she will likely land all-Southern Ohio Conference Division II and all-Southeast District accolades once again.
Potts plays one more makeup matchup against visiting Waverly on Thursday, but Monday night was all about Senior Night — as she was the last Lady Mohawk standing for the class of 2020.
She was recognized in pregame activities, proceeded to score eight points in Northwest’s win for its 19th on the season, and then announced she would continue her athletic and academic career with Muskingum, located in New Concord.
The Lady Muskies, coached by head coach Erin Eaton and associate head coach Sean Strickland, are members of the Ohio Athletic Conference —and of the NCAA Division III.
The soft-spoken Potts said she felt the most “at home” at Muskingum, and compared it to Northwest by jokingly saying “it’s in the middle of nowhere.”
Another OAC school and Division III program, Wilmington, was also on Potts’ recruiting radar.
“I just felt when I went up and visited each of the colleges that Muskingum felt the most like here (Northwest). I’m excited and I am ready to take that next step,” she said.
Frantz took over the struggling Lady Mohawk program three-and-a-half years ago, midway through Potts’ freshman season, and has witnessed first-hand how Potts personally—and the team collectively —has progressed.
The Lady Mohawks were the runners-up to Wheelersburg in the SOC II, swept traditional power Oak Hill in the regular season, and are on the doorstep of 20 wins this year— should they defeat Waverly in Thursday’s makeup.
“Not everyone has made it through, but Keirah and I have come through together. So there is a bond there. We have a great relationship. It was a tough time and we went through some growing pains together, but she stuck through it,” said the coach. “She comes from supportive parents on both sides and she has a tight family. And that’s where it all starts. This season has been the reward of sticking through all those rough stretches.”
For Potts, playing for Frantz and being a Lady Mohawk has been mutual.
“I really liked playing for Coach Frantz because he has always pushed me to be the best person I can be, both on and off the court,” she said.
On the court, the versatile Potts — playing inside and out often times — is averaging 10.8 points per game.
The Lady Mohawks had two other players —Haidyn Wamsley and Valerie Copas —who scored similar numbers, but Potts played the largest role with her senior leadership, in addition to rebounding, passing and even defending.
“We don’t have one person that we turn to exclusively. One of her best games this year I think she had three points. Other times, she may score 20.” said Frantz. “We have grown up a lot as a team, and she has led us.”
She said her defense, though, “definitely” needs improving as she makes the jump from high school to college.
“Definitely defense, because I have the tendency to let them (offensive players) get past me and just attempt to block them,” said Potts.
The first thing, Frantz said, that Muskingum will do is develop her upper-body strength.
“She needs to get stronger,” he said. “She is going to have to work on some foot speed, and just overall strength in her upper body. She can handle the ball, shoot the ball, right-handed or left-handed, and until our last couple of games has been our best free-throw shooter. She has all the tools, but we just need to get her stronger.”
Potts knows that as well, and actively should partake in her own physical development, as it helps —in part —that she plans to major in athletic training.
She planned for her signing ceremony following her Senior Night victory, as Monday night was indeed as close to a perfect Senior Night as one young lady can have.
“This night was a neat thing to be a part of. I’m very proud of Keirah and I hope she does well at the next level and I believe she will,” said Frantz. “She is a smart girl and she is going to make Mohawk Nation proud of her.”
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @BoggsSports © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved