King, Wilks selected to Kentucky All-Star Team

Published 11:46 am Thursday, April 25, 2019

Emma King and Kaitlynn Wilks finished their careers as Lincoln County High School basketball players on March 3, capping off their time in a Lady Patriot uniform by being a part of Lincoln’s fifth consecutive 45th District championship squad.

The Lincoln seniors, who also played on two 12th Region runner-up teams and three regional semifinalist teams, got the chance to play another high school game Saturday when they participated in the Kentucky Association of Basketball Coaches (KABC) East vs. West All-Star game at John Hardin High School in Elizabethtown.

Now the two will get together to lace it up once again as teammates, but this time on a bigger stage as they were both named to the KABC Kentucky All-Star roster for the annual Kentucky/Indiana All-Star Series.

The KABC selection committee made the announcement of the 12 players selected to the 2019 All-Star team Sunday evening, with the girls roster including King and Wilks.

The 79th annual Kentucky/Indiana All-Star Games will be played June 7 and 8. The first game will be played on Friday, June 7, at Bellarmine University in Louisville and the second game will be played on Saturday, June 8, at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana.

King finished her high school career as Lincoln’s all-time leading scorer, averaging 18.5 points her senior season. She also averaged 7.4 rebounds a game. Wilks made her mark on Lady Patriot basketball by scoring 1,000 career points and grabbing 1,000 rebounds. She averaged 15.1 points and 8.1 rebounds last season.

Kings’ and Wilks’ selection marks only the second time in school history that a Lady Patriot player has been named to the Kentucky All-Star Team. The first Lincoln player to make the team was Maggie Cox in 1990.

“It’s really exciting and I’m very grateful to have the opportunity,” said Wilks, who will play for Trevecca University in Nashville, Tennessee, a Division II school. “Just to get to try out was really exciting, and to make the team was just icing on the cake.”

King, a Miss Kentucky Basketball candidate who will play for the University of Kentucky next season, made the Junior All-Star team last year, but she was just as excited to make the cut as a senior.

“It’s exciting,” she said. “I felt pretty good (tryouts). I made the team last year so I was just trying to prove to them that I’m still worthy of being on the team. And just the fact that Kaitlynn gets to do it with me one last time … I’m just really excited and I think it will be a fun time.”

King and Wilks time as teammate far exceeds their time in a Lady Patriot uniform, with the two first playing together in elementary school.

“We’ve played together a long time, since elementary school, so I’m glad to get to play with Emma,” Wilks said. “To get to play together one last time, and for it to be an all-star game, is really exciting.”

The Lincoln duo had been practicing regularly and trying to stay in condition over the past few weeks in preparation for the invitation-only tryouts. All potential all-stars went through several drills and scrimmages Saturday before playing in the KABC East vs. West Game.

“It was definitely tough, “ said Wilks, who finished with 18 points, six rebounds and two blocked shots in the East vs. West game. “The competition there, it’s the best of the best, so it’s different than what I’m used to. It was a tough tryout.”

Neither player seemed to be bothered by nerves during the tryout process.

“I really wasn’t nervous because I was just going to go in and give it my best shot. And if I made it, I made it. If I didn’t, I was okay with it because I got to try out and that’s a big deal anyway,” said Wilks.

King, who had 21 points, five rebounds, three assists and one blocked shot in the East’s 165-99 win over the West, says she always tries “not to get nervous” in such situations.

“I mean, whatever happens is going to happen so getting nervous won’t help,” said King, who was named MVP for the East team. “I just make sure I do what I do. No matter what, the only thing I can control is how hard I play so that’s just something I go into everything I come across. I know that’s what I’m gonna do and what I can do and everything else will take care of the rest.”

Ashlee Harris of Sacred Heart was named MVP for the West team.

Lady Patriot coach Cassandra McWhorter knew that King and Wilks were both capable of making the team.

“I had all the confidence in the world in them going into this weekend,” she said. “I know they were excited about the process and the opportunity to make the team. One making it is pretty cool, but two making it is pretty awesome.”

Having more than one player from one school making the team is not a common occurrence when it comes to Kentucky All-Stars Team selection.

“Last year, it was kind of a first when three from Mercer (state champion) made it,” said McWhorter. “You don’t usually have more than one from a team make it so it’s a testament to our region and how strong our region is and how strong our players are to consecutively have (multiple) players going and making the team.”

King and Wilks will join the other girls in Louisville a week before the first game to practice as a team. Until then, the two will continue working hard at practicing and staying in condition for the games.

“I can’t wait to play. I think it will be fun,” Wilks said.

“I’m really excited, especially because I’ll get to play with Kaitlynn, but also I’ve been playing AAU with a bunch of the girls that are also on the team so this will be kind of a last sendoff for all of us,” King said. “We’re all going our separate ways in the world after that. I think it will be exciting and I’m glad I get to play with them one more time.”

Ticket sales will begin in May, info on game times and other All-Star week events (such as the Junior All-Star game) will be released on kentuckybasketballcoaches.org.

Lincoln County was not the only team having two players selected to this year’s team, with two Male High School athletes making the cut.

The 2019 girls roster is: 2019 Miss Kentucky Savannah Wheeler, Boyd County; Cameron Browning, Male; Ashlee Harris, Sacred Heart; Jada Higgins, Knott County; Hayley Harrison, George Rogers Clark; Joelle Johnson, Male; MacKenzie Keelin, Owensboro Catholic; Emma King, Lincoln County; Maaliya Owens, Scott County; Emma Ralph, Bullitt East; Lauren Schwartz, Ryle; and Kaitlynn Wilks, Lincoln County.

The boys selected to play for the Kentucky All-Stars are: 2019 Mr. Basketball Dontaie Allen, Pendleton County; Blake Butler, Jeffersontown; Isaiah Cozart, Madison Central; Jordan Graham, George Rogers Clark; Jackson Harlan, Clinton County; David Johnson, Trinity; Reid Jolly, Campbell County; J.J. Kalakon, Waggener; Dieonte Miles, Walton-Verona; Max Reyes, Casey County; Jamarrion Sharp, Hopkinsville; Trevon Smith, Taylor County; and Kyky Tandy, University Heights.