LEWISBURG, W.Va. (WVDN) – It was a good year for the 2022-23 Greenbrier East Lady Spartans, but it did not end like they had hoped, when East suffered a 56-54 loss to Princeton in the Region 3, Section 2 tournament. The loss was hard to accept, because the Spartans had already beaten the Tigers twice in the regular season, although beating a team three times is difficult.
Like most teams, the Spartans had their share of ups and downs. They traveled to South Carolina after Christmas and went 1-2 but played a couple powerhouse teams that prepared them for the rest of the home state schedule. A season-opening win against James Monroe, wins over St. Albans, South Charleston and Nitro highlighted the good, with senior Cadence Stewart going over 1,500 points for her career also at the top of the list of accomplishments.
At the end of the day, East finished 15-8.
The Spartans started three freshmen in their lineup for the majority of the season. Kennedy Stewart, Mackenna McClure and Hannah Fuller all played well in spurts and will form one of the better young trios in the area next season.
Kennedy Stewart scored 13 points per game and pulled down 3.7 rebounds. She also led the team with 79 assists, had 36 steals and was second only to her sister, Cadence, in made 3s with 57.
McClure steadily improved as the season went on and saved her best game for last. She finished the regular season at 4.5 ppg, but against Princeton she netted a career high 21 points, setting the tone for next season.
No player on the Spartan roster improved from game one to game 23 like Fuller. The 6-foot-2-inch center was a little timid to start the year, which is normal for a ninth grader, but by midseason until the final game, Fuller was much more aggressive and a force inside. She had a couple double-doubles on the year and concluded with 4.5 points and 5.6 rebounds. She also led the team in blocked shots with 31 and shot 46.9 percent from the field.
Sophomore Ryan White and junior Caroline Dotson also played major roles in the Spartans’ success. White led the team in rebounding at seven per game and scored 4.3 points per contest. She knocked in 15 3s on the season and had 34 steals.
Dotson did a lot of the dirty work ala Brooke Davis a season ago. Dotson contributed 8 points and 4.7 rebounds a night, along with 47 steals. That whole core will provide a lot of excitement heading into next year.
However, Cadence Stewart, the lone senior, will be tough to replace.
Cadence Stewart ended her career second on the all-time scoring list for the Spartans with 1,545 total points over four years. She scored at a 19.3 clip this year and hauled in 6.7 rebounds. She led the team with 76 made triples and shot 79.6 percent from the charity stripe. The Aderson-Broaddus signee and all-state selection definitely left her mark in the Spartan history books and will be remembered for years to come.
Liz Wooding gave the Spartans another body on the floor, pulling down 54 total rebounds on the season. She will be another key piece for East next season.
Other players who can return and make a dent in the varsity lineup next season all saw some action this year to get some experience for next year. Watch out for Kiki Bagut, Taylor Brammer, Emma Palmer, Brianna Hannigan, Annie Whited and Samantha Edwards. All will have opportunities to compete for major minutes in 2023-24.
Although this season ended on the wrong note, next season will be another good one for the Spartans, and excitement will be in the air.