Boyd’s Paynter commits to Tennessee Tech | Sports

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CANNONSBURG, Ky. — Harley Paynter traded one Eagle for another.

The Boyd County High School girls basketball star committed to Tennessee Tech on Monday. She had committed to Morehead State last October, but reopened her recruiting in May.

“I’m super excited,” Paynter said Monday evening. “My family went on a trip to Pigeon Forge (Tennessee) for my birthday and we drove over to Cookeville to see Tech. I loved it. I talked with the coach and the girls on Zoom and I connected with them really well.”

Paynter, a 5-foot-8 guard and candidate for the Kentucky Miss Basketball Award, had 16 NCAA Division I offers since re-opening her recruitment. She chose Tennessee Tech over Bethune-Cookman, Charleston Southern, Evansville, Fairfield, Fresno State, Furman, Jacksonville State, Morehead State, Murray State, Navy, Samford, Southern Utah, Toledo, Vermont and Western Kentucky.

Paynter averaged 22 points per game last season when she made 84 of 221 (38 percent) 3-point shots to help Boyd County to a 20-12 record. She was 223 for 495 (45.1 percent) overall shooting, 173 of 229 (75.5 percent) from the free throw line. She also is a superb ball handler who led the Lions with 7.9 rebounds per game.

Tennessee Tech is in the Ohio Valley Conference, the same league as Morehead State, 30 minutes from Paynter’s home.

She said she settled on Tennessee Tech a while ago, but waited for confirmation from God before announcing her decision.

“I prayed and prayed and prayed,” Paynter said. “I knew God would lead me in the right direction.”

Tennessee Tech went 17-13 last season, 10-8 in the OVC. The Golden Eagles have six seniors on the 2020-2021 roster and five are guards, leaving Paynter, who has played varsity basketball since eighth grade, optimistic she will see immediate playing time.

“We talked a lot about that,” Paynter said of Tennessee Tech coach Kim Rosamond concerning playing time. “I wanted to make sure I could make a difference on this team. I know I’ll have to earn it, but I love that challenge of having to work for it. In middle school I worked for a varsity spot and I still have to work hard.”

Paynter is known for her strenuous workouts to stay in shape, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. She said she hopes the virus doesn’t flare up again and take away basketball season.

“It’s crazy to even think about not playing my senior year,” Paynter said. “I can’t even think about it. We want to try to win the state and do amazing things.”

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