By: Alex Valentine (view original article)
The long, winding webs of connections that athletics build for players and coaches alike often weave across state boundaries and roll down from one generation to the next. In small, tight-knit communities like Hagerman, that often proves even truer.
Those sturdy basketball connections came to fruition on Monday, as Hagerman standout Samantha McCrorey signed to play at Northwest College in Powell, Wyoming.
McCrorey follows in the footsteps of Hagerman’s varsity volleyball coach, Katie Knight, who played basketball at Northwest College from 2003—2005.
But the branches of the basketball tree don’t stop there.
Knight’s sister-in-law, Larissa Knight, graduated from Hagerman in 2014. After one year at Western Wyoming Community College, she played a year at Northwest before moving on to Southern Virginia.
Northwest’s head women’s basketball coach, Janis Beal, just finished her eighth season at the Trappers’ helm. She finished her two years playing at Northwest the year before Knight arrived in 2003, but her record-breaking performances at the college stayed around until long after Knight finished her tenure.
McCrorey, who also excelled in volleyball and track, and recently broke the school record for discus throw at 118’ 2.5”, visited the campus and scrimmaged with the team over Hagerman’s spring break. She took some time to think it over, but Knight says that may just been a case of letting the reality sink in.
“She met with the team and the coach and loved the atmosphere. I think it’s just something that she never realized she could do. She never realized that she could play and have school paid for because of it,” said Knight.
Knight and McCrorey’s relationship goes far beyond a simple coach-player bond too.
During her freshman year of high school, McCrorey’s home life presented some difficulties, so she would spend her Thursday nights eating dinner with Knight’s family. Her sophomore year, she moved in with Knight’s parents-in-law, right next door to Knight.