LEWISBURG, W.Va. (WVDN) – The Greenbrier East Lady Spartans have had several players in the last decade or so who have etched their names in Spartan lore.
Over the last four seasons, there is an argument to be made that senior Cadence Stewart is at the top of that list.
Stewart began playing varsity basketball as a freshman in the 2019-20 season. That year, the Spartans made the state tournament, but moments before their scheduled first game, they packed up and headed home due to COVID-19 cancelling the tournament.
Stewart never got a chance to get back to states, but the career she put together has been truly remarkable. She finished her senior season on Tuesday, Feb. 21, after a tough, heartfelt loss to Princeton in the Region 3, Section 2 first round. Stewart is ranked second all-time in school history in points scored with 1,545. She averaged 19.3 points per game and 6.7 rebounds this past season. She also made 76 3s and scored 40 points against Mercer Christian a couple weeks ago.
So, while the loss hurts, Stewart is still thankful for everything she achieved on the court and credits two former Spartan teammates for helping her get there.
“It feels really great to be the school’s second all-time leading scorer, and I’m proud to have been able to achieve this. Whenever I first started at East, I didn’t even think it was a possibility. All I could do at the time was shoot and I needed to get a lot better. My role models, Emma Dotson and Haley McClure, showed me that through dedication and hard work anything can happen,” Stewart said.
One unique thing Stewart got to do as a senior was play with her younger sister, freshman Kennedy Stewart. Kennedy ran the point guard spot for the Spartans and helped set up Cadence for a lot of her shots from all over the floor.
Cadence Stweart says that playing with her sibling will be something she will always remember.
“It was amazing to experience playing with my sister. We have always worked out together but getting to share the court was so much fun. We knew each other’s tendencies, so that helped a lot. We may have disagreed some, but we still love each other at the end of the day,” Cadence Stewart said.
Kennedy Stewart also had a good first year, averaging 13.0 points per contest, so the scoring prowess is there for her as well, and Cadence Stewart can only hope that her sister catches her career point total.
“I hope Kennedy is a threat to my spot on the all-time leader board. It gives her something to work toward, and it would make me really proud if she got there too,” Cadence Stewart commented.
Cadence Stewart has signed to play basketball for Alderson-Broaddus next season and will head there this fall. While excited for her next step, she will miss what her time as a Spartan meant to her.
“The thing I’ll miss the most is spending time with my team and getting to represent my school and my local community,” she said.
Selecting her school of choice ended up being a rather easy decision, and she has early help from her parents about what to expect once she gets there.
“The coaches at Alderson Broaddus were amazing. They are really dedicated to building their program and saw me as a part of it. Their values were also great. Their science programs are also very prestigious, so that was another selling point since I’ll be majoring in exercise science,” Cadence Stewart stated.
“My parents were college athletes, so they told me about the expectations at that level and that hard work would be necessary. My family always supported me and stood by me through all the highs and lows, which I am very thankful for as well,” she added.
Playing time as freshman at the next level can be sporadic, as a high school star technically has to start over and prove herself again to new coaches and teammates. Cadence Stewart knows the reality of it all and just hopes to be a contributor early while working her way up the ladder, but also wants the academic side of things as well.
“My ultimate goal, once I get to college, is to get some playing time and help out the team anyway I can. I also want to make my studies a priority and achieve that degree,” she said.