N-C's Whitener named District 10's top player

Capping a stellar prep basketball career, Newton-Conover’s Shynese Whitener was named the 2012 District 10 girls basketball player of the year by the North Carolina Basketball Coaches Association (NCBCA).

Receiving the honor caught the senior off guard.

“I’m definitely surprised,” Whitener said. “I’m still shocked. It’s an honor to receive this award. It was fun just going out every night, having my teammates support and playing basketball. It goes to show you that hard work pays off.”

Whitener adds the District 10 honor to a list of many accomplishments during her Red Devil career, including conference player of the year (2010), all-conference for four years (2008-11), Catawba Valley Classic tournament MVP (2011) and All-West Regional tournament team (2010-11).

Whitener said she tried to learn each year as a Lady Red Devil and grow from the knowledge she gained on and off the court.

“When I started as a freshman, it was rough,” she said. “I had teammates transfer in. We had a new coach. Everyone was expecting us to be this and that. It was a fun learning experience to be a part of Newton-Conover basketball. Just to grow as a person and basketball player because of our coaches and teammates pushing me was very interesting and fun.”

Whitener, along with fellow senior teammate and District 10 third-team member Kadesha Gibbs, are two players on a prestigious list of Lady Red Devils basketball players to score 1,000 points. That list also includes Taylor Deal (2005-08), Betsy Gaither (2005-08) and Tisha England (1988-92). Gibbs is also a 1,000-point rebounder.

One memory of Whitener’s N-C career rises above the rest.

“My sophomore year I got conference player of the year, and we went to Greensboro,” she said. “I enjoyed the moment and not taking for granted being down in Greensboro. Having teammates that love you and coaches, those are great moments.”

Whitener is currently deciding on her college choice and has narrowed it down to a few schools, including East Carolina and Cape Fear (Wilmington).

5 county athletes on second, third teams

Five Catawba County girls basketball players were named to the District 10 second and third teams.

Three county athletes — including Newton-Conover’s Kadesha Gibbs, Fred T. Foard’s Brooke Robinson and Hickory’s Danasia Witherspoon — made the second team.

Two other Lady Red Tornadoes — Yazmin Hannah and Aja Hoyle — made the third team.