Ready to discover Columbus ... PikeView’s Jennifer Taylor, left, and Danielle Compton were invited participate in the Junior Nationals basketball camp taking place from July 19-25 in Columbus, Ohio.

A pair of PikeView underclassmen basketball players were recently given the chance to take their game to another level. Sophomores Jennifer Taylor and Danielle Compton received invitations to attend the Junior Nationals one-day camp in Charlottesville, Virginia on April 25.

The pair performed well — so well that they have been asked to attend a week-long upper-level Junior Nationals camp in Columbus, Ohio from July 19-25.

“Last month, we went up for one day, it was a Sunday,” Taylor said. “We got picked to go on a team and we played against each other and then there were college scouts there looking.

“And then we got recognized to go up to the next level which was a week-long camp. And you just go up there and there’s a lot greater competition. And we just go up there and play and they teach you more stuff.”

Taylor and Compton were selected for the one-day camp in Charlottesville thanks to the recommendations of their high school head coach Karen Miller and her staff.

“It wasn’t right after when basketball ended, but close to about two months ago or so. We got a letter in the mail saying we were offered to go,” Taylor said.

“I was excited. I was really looking forward to it. I was going to get to play against a lot more competition than what we have down here. And since I’m a sophomore right now, going to be a junior next year, then colleges can look at me.”

“My coach had been talking to me about it and I really didn’t know what to expect,” Compton said. “And then I got a letter in the mail. My parents told me I had a choice. I could go if I wanted to or not and they said it would be a good idea getting to play against a bunch of other people, find out where I stand. So I decided to go and I enjoyed it.”

The experience confirmed something for Compton, “There’s bigger competition out there than what I see just in my high school.”

In addition to bigger competition, there were college scouts scanning the group for future stars. Each of the players participated in selected drills to measure their capability.

“We did foul shots,” Taylor said. “We did 25 foul shots and it was like a competition. And then after doing that, we just played games against each other.”

Most of the time was spent scrimmaging, which required the gym full of strangers to become fast friends.

“I like to have a lot of team chemistry,” Compton said. “We ended up actually being very good, our team did, because we actually talked and stuff and we got to know each other and we played like a team. Even after knowing each other for only a few hours, we played like a team.”

That team chemistry helped Taylor and Compton, especially with the camp’s fundamental nature.

“We only had to do a few things like play man-to-man and we were allowed to run a motion offense,” Compton said. “So we just really worked on handling the ball and being a team.

“It was very helpful, I think. It showed me what all I need to help improve on and stuff like that.”

Two weeks following the camp in Charlottesville, Compton received a second invitation. Actually, the golden ticket came in the form of a packet.

“A couple weeks ago, I got the packet in the mail and I texted (Jennifer) and I was excited about it,” Compton said. “My parents told me the same thing, that if I wanted to go we could do it. But if I didn’t, then we didn’t have to. So I decided that I was going to go.”

Two days later, it was Taylor’s turn to send an excitement-laden text message.

“They sent us a big packet and it was really decorative,” Taylor said. “And they said, ‘You are invited to Junior Nationals in Columbus, Ohio.’

“I was really excited. I texted (Danielle) and I was like, ‘I got my Junior Nationals form back.’ I was texting everybody. I was excited.”

“It’s always nice to go to stuff like this with somebody that you know and can relate to,” Compton said. “We’ll be on the same team, so that will make us work better together and it’ll make us both better for our next basketball years at PikeView.”

Miller was ecstatic when she heard the news.

“We are proud of Jennifer and Danielle for getting the opportunity to go to Junior Nationals and we’re hoping that through this that other coaches will be able to see them play and maybe this will help them when they become seniors,” she said.

Taylor and Compton know that the week will not be an easy one.

“(The competition is) going to be much greater than what we have down here,” Taylor said. “So if we go up there and play teams that are a lot better than us, then we can be prepared for what’s down here.”

The development of a pair of Panthers will benefit the PikeView team as a whole.

“I think it’s really going to help both of us out a lot and it’s going to help our team out, too,” Taylor said. “It might bring our team closer together.”

“We can take the things that we learn at the camp and bring it back here to help us better our team,” Compton said.

“Just becoming a better player myself and understanding basketball more and more. Just learn how to work with different people and being more successful.”

Donations are being accepted to fund Taylor and Compton’s trip to Columbus. People who want to donate can make checks payable to either Jennifer Taylor of Danielle Compton. Those donations can be sent to P.O. Box 5316, Princeton, WV 24740.

For more information, contact Taylor at (304) 425-6569 or Danielle at (304) 952-3248.

— Contact Jed Lockett at jlockett@bdtonline.com

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