CHARLESTON — Jenna Atwell had a special fan in the stands on Tuesday morning when her River View Lady Raiders played in the state girls basketball tournament.
Her mother, who played in the state tournament a generation ago for the Iaeger Lady Cubs, was present in the darkened cheering section at the Charleston Coliseum.
“She was a junior at the time,” said Atwell, a 5-foot-7 senior. “And she’s always dreamt of me having that experience. So I’m glad that she’s here to watch me. I feel proud that I can be a second-generation (player) up here.” She added that her mother is “very proud that I made it up here.”
“She always told me to just work hard, and I could do anything that I set my mind to,” Atwell said. “As long as I was a strong leader, I could just do anything.”
Atwell scored the final point of the season for River View, in her final game, and after the postgame press conference she talked about how she and her teammates got to be sectional champs and state tourney participants.
“We put in the work, like 24 / 7,” she said. “We’ve been in the gym two, three hours a day. We’ve worked on weekends, we’ve worked (when there was) no school. We’ve just really pulled together as a team and become sisters.
“I’ve never been more proud of a team.”
Asked about her takeaways from the state tournament in Charleston, she said she will remember “the trip here with the girls,” as well as “all the lights (on the playing court), and just being on this big stage where everybody can see you. It’s kind of terrifying, I’m not going to lie.
“I just think it’s a very great opportunity that I wish everybody could experience.”