Ashville senior Riley Wilbanks signed a basketball scholarship with Huntingdon College last week. Wilbanks moved to Steele from Ft. Payne while in the sixth grade. She attended Steele Jr. High through the eighth grade before coming to Ashville High.
Wilbanks is the 17-year-old daughter of Tim and Angie Donovan. She maintains a 3.5 GPA and plans to be a veterinarian.
“Huntingdon just felt like home to me,” she said. “I liked the atmosphere, the girls on the basketball team are friendly and I loved the professors. I also liked basketball coach Buzz Phillips. There are also a few former Ashville High graduates there as well.”
Wilbanks said she learned a lot playing basketball under Coach Mara Mattison and Coach Dale Beason.
“It was so much fun, and I had a ball,” she said. “They taught me things that I will definitely take with me to Huntingdon.”
Beason said this is a good thing because it shows that the kids are working hard.
“Riley has shown a lot of perseverance to this point,” Beason said. “During her career, she has had a lot of injuries that she’s had to overcome. I am glad she is getting this opportunity to play at the next level. We’ve probably had 25 girls in our athletic program since I have been here who have gone on to play volleyball, softball and basketball at the collegiate level. It says a lot about our girls and how hard they work. Riley is just another one of those girls.”
Angie Donovan said she was proud of her daughter.
“She has worked hard and is a very good child,” she said.
Tim Donovan said he is just elated for his daughter.
“She has been a great kid all of the way through junior high and high school,” he said. “She has worked so hard, especially coming back through so many injuries. She’s been through a lot, but she loves it so much.”
Ashville assistant principal Ray Crump said this scholarship signing is a result of Riley’s hard work.
“She has put the time and the work in to get to this point in her life,” he said. “For that, I am so proud. It is days like today that make all of that hard work worthwhile.”
Reach Gary Hanner at email@example.com.