The Greenbrier East Lady Spartans were all geared up and ready. They had gotten on the bus and were in the state’s capital ready to compete in the girl’s state basketball tournament in a year where they had more than a decent chance to hoist the coveted championship trophy.
But several hours before tipoff against the Martinsburg Bulldogs on March 12 not only did the Spartans game get canceled, but the whole tournament was at the time, temporarily suspended. Then it was called off permanently due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The three-time first team all-state performer was trying to wrap up her career with a state title. Instead, her high school career came to an unexpected and sudden end.
If there was one silver lining for McClure and her teammates, it was that everything around the world was finished. It was not just her team going through it. It was happening to the many sports leagues that generate millions and millions of dollars in revenue.
Still, it did not make it any easier for McClure to accept.
“It’s been extremely difficult and still doesn’t feel real”, McClure said. “I knew my high school career was coming close to an end, but I never could imagine it would end this way.”
Listing all of McClure’s athletic accomplishments could take a week or two. Yes, there are that many. But she is also a model student off the floor as well.
She finished with a 3.8 GPA, was a member of the National Junior Honor Society, a member of the JROTC and a Greenbrier Scholar. She also was the HOSA Treasurer and did HOSA clinicals.
On the court, she was simply a star. She finished her career with 1,758 points which makes her the top girls scorer in school history. She is second in school history in scoring, boys and girls combined, to Warren Baker (1,902) and right in front of current East boys coach and former NBA player, Bimbo Coles (1,607).
When McClure was not on the all-state first team, she earned a spot on the second team as a freshman, but is the only player in Spartan history to make the first team at least three years.
She played 98 career games and averaged 17.2 points per game and 9.2 rebounds. She had two 40-point games in 2019 and 33 career double-doubles. However, even with all those numbers and all the records, McClure still feels there is unfinished business as a Spartan.
“Oh most definitely”, McClure said when asked that question. “This was my last chance to go to states and I’d do anything to go back and have an opportunity to play for the state title.”
Thinking back to that aforementioned Thursday brings some not so fond memories to McClure’s mind.
“It was a whirlwind of emotions. Sad, angry and speechless. It really came as a total shock as we got the news three hours prior to our game time,” McClure stated.
There Is an old saying, you don’t know what you have until it’s gone, and McClure, along with the rest of her Spartan teammates seem to completely understand that now. However, it is never a bad thing to be able to learn a lesson or two along the way.
“They say to always play your game like it’s your last and I’m going to truly live like that now. All the things happening shows that you have to truly live in the moment and never take anything for granted,” McClure said.
McClure will have many memories of her storied career, but there are several good ones that will forever outweigh the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Some of my best memories are our time at the Governor’s mansion, working the basketball camps and mentoring youth athletes, the basketball fashion show, the inaugural ceremony and ball, making it to states, bus trips with my teammates, scoring my 1,000th point, running around the block to pick up cupcakes then having to run back to catch up with the coach. I have so many more, but those are the best,” she said.
As bad as it hurts having a season cut short and as bad as the Lady Spartans will miss her on the court, McClure has big things planned for her future on and off the court.
“I will be attending Coker University in Hartsville, South Carolina on a basketball scholarship and majoring in the medical field,” McClure concluded.
McClure has already enrolled and is currently adjusting to the college lifestyle. She will be remembered for having one of the more storied careers in Greenbrier East athletics history.