Webbers Falls’ Samantha Shanks – Athlete Spotlight Presented by Cross

By Nick Hampton

In his 40 years of high school coaching, Jerry Ward has seen a pretty good number of talented freshman girls on the basketball court. But he counts Samantha Shanks, now a sophomore, as one of the best.

“She is an extraordinary athlete so whatever she plays, be it basketball, softball or track, she’s going to excel because she’s very driven and that’s one of things I like about her best,” said the veteran coach. “Of the basketball players I’ve coached over the years going back to the six-on-six era, she’s probably one of the top three as a freshman I’ve had including 13 All-Staters.”

Shanks was one of the “Four Horsewomen” that led Webbers Falls to it’s first trip to the state tournament in 21 years in 2019 averaging 17points per game as a freshman surrounded by a bunch of seniors.

“She was the missing piece that helped catapult us to the state tournament last year,” said Ward. “But with those seniors gone, she knows she’ll have a target on her back this year.”

But that doesn’t seem to concern Shanks much who admits that out of all her athletic endeavors, basketball is by far her favorite.

“I just like basketball best because it’s a really competitive sport and I can work closely with my team mates and it’s just always been my favorite,” said Shanks who speaks well beyond her sophomore years.

Going to the Big House in Oklahoma City last year was an experience that Shanks hopes to repeat.

“It’s hard to explain the feeling but I just know I want to feel it every year I play basketball. Your heart stops just to be on the court and see how many people are sitting up there watching you and it just gives you such a rush,” said Shanks who is a VYPE Top 100 pick for 2019.

Though just a sophomore, Samantha will take on more of a leadership role this year as the Lady Warriors will be young.

“It’s a little nerve wracking but also exciting to be able to step up and help the others and encourage them because  it feels good to have someone encourage you and know someone believes in you,” said Shanks who is vice-president of the sophomore class and a member of the National Honor Society.

Due to the major spring flooding that damaged the Webbers Falls school and the gym, the Lady Warriors are behind in their preparations for this basketball season since they usually work a lot during the summer. But the final touches are being put on the new gyms and the almost brand-new version of the Lady Warriors will be ready with just one, but a very talented one of the “Four Horsewomen” set to lead them.