By TREY WILLIAMS
Virginia is for lovers of college athletics as far as Daniel Boone’s Dannah Persinger and David Crockett’s Halle Scott are concerned.
Each will be competing on courts in Southwest Virginia at the next level beginning next season.
Persinger will continue her volleyball career at the University of Virginia at Wise while Scott will play basketball next season at Southwest Virginia Community College.
A force at the net that often drew extra attention, Persinger was a multi-year All-Big Seven Conference selection. Persinger was coached at Boone by Chelsea Baker.
“I have had less than five players start as a freshman my entire eight years of coaching,” Baker said. “Dannah and McKenna (Dietz) were two of them. Dannah will be an asset to UVa-Wise. She is strong physically and knows the game mentally. She always worked extremely hard and always set a strong example for the younger players. I’m excited to see her play at Wise and thankful she will be close to home.”
Persinger liked remaining close to home.
“And I loved the campus and the atmosphere,” Persinger said. “Coach (Kristen) Salyer was very welcoming and really encouraged me to keep playing. I figured I would either stay home and go to ETSU or UT just to go to school there. After losing my junior softball season it really opened my eyes that I wasn’t ready to stop playing sports.”
Persinger helped Boone advance to the state tournament in 2019.
“My favorite memory definitely has to be my junior season when we competed at the state level,” Persinger said. “I will never forget the sub-state game coming from behind to beat Farragut. The energy in that gym will always stick with me.”
Persinger is thankful for a number of inspirational figures.
“My middle school coach Hayley Hutson encouraged me to play at the high school level,” Persinger said. “Coach Baker took me in my freshman year and gave me the chance to play at the high school level. All of my travel ball coaches, especially Patrick Maiden, pushed me to be a better player. And I’m so thankful for all of their time they put into me. Lastly, I’m very thankful for my family for always supporting me.”
A versatile asset at lead guard, Scott finished her career at Crockett with 158 steals, 165 assists, 568 points and 427 rebounds. An All-Big Seven Conference selection, she was the league’s defensive player of the year this past season – arguable Crockett’s most successful of the modern era.
“Halle was a big part of this team’s success,” first-year coach Thomas Gouge said. “We asked a lot of her this season and she delivered. She ran our point on offense and was faced with guarding the opponents’ best perimeter player most nights. She really played some unbelievable ball in the district tournament and led us in points, rebounds and assists in wins over Boone and Dobyns-Bennett in back-to-back nights while playing lockdown defense. She gave her all every single day and that’s contagious throughout the program.
“We are really going to miss Halle and I know she will be a success at the next level. SWCC is definitely getting a good one.”
Scott is eager to continue her career in Richlands.
“I am excited to accept new challenges and develop new goals,” Scott said. “College basketball is more intense. However, I feel that if I continue to push myself I’ll be quite successful and adapt to my new environment quickly. I look forward to building new bonds with my future teammates.
“I fell in love with SWCC’s beautiful campus and welcoming atmosphere. I immediately felt at home, despite ‘home’ being an hour and a half away.”
Scott will miss everything about Crockett from friendships to summer camps, particularly the one at Furman.
“My teammates and I discovered ourselves there and became united as one,” Scott said. “Another memorable experience was the semifinal district game. It was the first time in Crockett history that the girls team had advanced to (host) a playoff game and regionals. The energy after we won was electric and we all took pride in our achievements. After the game, we went to Chili’s to celebrate with quesadillas. Last, but certainly not least is when we went to see the ‘Telford Christmas Lights.’ A homeowner in Telford decorated their home with an abundance of Christmas lights and our coach decided to take us to visit. It was such a fun experience.”
Scott said many have been instrumental in her development.
“Those who have shaped me the most would be my family, friends, teachers, teammates and coaches,” Scott said. “My mom (Megan), dad (Brian) and older brother (Atley) have always been my biggest fans, even when playing Junior Pioneers. They taught me about the importance of hard work and self-respect. I would not be the player or student I am today without the support of my family. …
“The two teachers who have inspired me the most are Mrs. Wolfe and Mrs. Rastall. These women have been role models in my life and taught me how to be prepared for my future career and college experience. “Finally, my teammates and coaches have made my experience memorable and motivated me to be a better player. I can’t thank them enough for the opportunities they have given me. I will always be proud to be a Pioneer.”