There’s an art to accessorizing, and if things go well for Bayley Plummer, she’ll pick up the perfect piece of jewelry to go with her prom dress.
An already-big weekend got bigger for Plummer, who will lead East Davidson against North Pitt today in the NCHSAA Class 2-A girls basketball championship in Chapel Hill.
On Sunday, she’ll go through the ritual of trying to find the right look for her senior prom. Thankfully for Plummer, she’s getting a late start in the search, as the Eagles (30-1) advanced to the state championship game after falling in the fourth round of the playoffs in each of the past three seasons.
“This year, our one goal was to get past that fourth round,” Plummer said. “That fourth round has been tough the past three years, so to finally get past that, I feel like we’ve really come together as a team and it’s been exciting.”
Plummer, a 6-foot-4 senior who is signed to play at Appalachian State, is looking to cap a legendary career at East that has seen her set NCHSAA records for blocked shots in a career (888), a season (238), and a game (21).
That game is her favorite personal performance, going for 20 points, 15 rebounds and 21 blocks in a win over rival North Davidson. Even if she hadn’t scored a point, it would still be her best memory.
“I don’t really love scoring I that much, but I love the defensive part of basketball,” Plummer said.
Always the tallest player on the court as a child, Plummer wasn’t always able to use her height effectively. Also playing softball and golf, she admitted she used to be awkward and uncoordinated.
Once a serious softball player who competed on travel teams, she’s heard time and again how intimidating she would be as a pitcher.
Things didn’t work out in the circle, though.
“I don’t think I really grew into my body until high school,” she said, laughing. “I couldn’t pitch to save my life.”
Fortunately for the Eagles, Plummer continued to grow into her game, putting together her most complete season yet, averaging 18.6 points, 16 rebounds and 8.2 blocks.
There was no one area of emphasis this season, but instead, a focus on understanding the game as a whole. Sometimes, less could be more on the defensive end.
“I think I’ve just become a better player this season, understanding the game a little more … knowing I’m not going to block every shot, being a presence in the middle will help my team.”
That’s an expectation that coach Angel Elderkin already has for Plummer when she arrives on campus in Boone.
During her first few weeks on the job in 2014, it took Elderkin watching all of one practice in Thomasville to make recruiting Plummer a priority.
She was shocked, however, to find there wasn’t more competition for her services. Because she focused on high school basketball and camps, Plummer wasn’t as well known as prospects who played AAU basketball through spring and summer.
“I feel like we got a real steal,” Elderkin said. “Post players are really hard to find because if they’re 6-3 and can run and rebound, generally they’re going to go to a higher level.”
Plummer might be the missing piece for an App State team that showed improvement over the course of a season that ended Wednesday with a 10-20 record.
“We were, I think, a post-player away. Our guards really came on strong toward the end of the season … but we never really had a consistent inside game,” Elderkin said. “Now, she’s only going to be a freshman, but she automatically gives us great size, great back to the basket, and if we continue to build on our matchup zone defense, she’s a perfect fit for it.”
Before she worries about adjusting to college life, though, she’s got the biggest weekend of her high school career to worry about — but she doesn’t seem too worried.
“A win would be great, but if we fall a little short, we’re not going to hang our heads,” Plummer said. “We know we’ve had a great season. We’re going to give it our all on Saturday and hope for the best.”