Olivia McGhee has heard the naysayers, even in Louisa County.
Many have doubted the legitimacy of the Louisa High School girls basketball team’s undefeated run to the first state championship in program history.
They mention that it occurred during a shortened season because of the COVID-19 pandemic and several Class 4 programs from the Richmond and Tidewater areas didn’t participate in the Virginia High School League season.
But all that chatter keeps McGhee motivated. Not that she needs it.
The Division I prospect with 27 scholarship offers has dominated since she arrived in high school in 2019.
This past season, she averaged 22.8 points per game, 11.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 3.2 steals and 1.4 blocks as she helped lead the Lions to the state championship and earn Free Lance-Star player of the year honors.
As soon as the season ended, McGhee returned to the gym to work on her outside shot and improve her decision-making because she’s already planning for an encore against what she hopes is a full 2022 slate in Class 4.
“There are some people, even in Louisa, saying we won states but it really shouldn’t count because we didn’t get to play the full [Class 4] or whatever,” McGhee said. “But I feel like we can compete with anybody in the state in my opinion. So we’re ready.”
The drive for a repeat performance also gives McGhee incentive to stick it out at Louisa. Private schools continually seek the services of the 6-foot-3 combo guard, but McGhee insists she’s getting the exposure she needs from the AAU circuit and going deep into the state postseason.
That is evident by the number of schools that have extended a scholarship offer.
McGhee said it was the team’s goal at the start of the season to make history at Louisa and when it accomplished that, she was hungry for more.
“We don’t expect anything but another one next year,” McGhee said. “The only way I would want to transfer is to boost my recruitment. But it’s been going pretty well so far.”
McGhee said she’s also enjoying the camaraderie with her teammates.
Albemarle transfer Sylvie Jackson joined the Lions this past year and gave McGhee the running mate she needed to propel Louisa over the top.
Jackson, a fellow sophomore, averaged 19.5 points per game to go along with 6.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 3.9 steals. She picked up a scholarship offer from Radford during the season.
McGhee and Jackson train together under Ross Williams in Culpeper County. Louisa head coach Nick Schreck said the two feed off each other.
“Any time you want to get to the next level, you want to play and practice against the best competition,” Schreck said. “Sylvie thrives on that. She’s a competitor. She doesn’t care how big you are, she’s going to try to make her mark … I think sooner rather than later you’re going to see more offers coming in for her.”
McGhee is glad to share the spotlight. Her long list of suitors includes Atlantic Coast Conference programs such as North Carolina, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Boston College and Pittsburgh.
McGhee showed why colleges are so enthralled with her as a freshman when she earned first-team All-Area honors, but her game took off to new heights this past season.
The Lions capped the 15-0 season with a 59–51 victory over Pulaski in the state championship game on the Cougars’ home court.
“That’s a huge momentum boost and confidence boost for our program,” Schreck said. “But what’s better than one ring is getting two. We want to run it back and we’re looking forward to the challenge of getting everybody’s best next year.”
Taft Coghill Jr: 540/374-5526