January 30, 2008 Edition

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Rachel Looney (front, center) signs a contract with Williams Baptist College to play basketball for the Lady Eagles. On hand for the signing were Rachel's family (standing, from left): David Looney, Holly Looney and Karen Looney, along with WRHS Assistant Coach Jason Ward, Larry Treadway, athletic director at WR; (seated) WRHS Girls Basketball Coach Clifford Rorex and Lady Eagles Head Coach Carol Halford.
TD Photo ~ Gloria Wilkerson

Looney to play for Lady Eagles

Amber Adams
Staff Writer

Walnut Ridge High School post player Rachel Looney will continue her basketball career close to home. Looney signed her commitment with Williams Baptist College during a ceremony Thursday at WRHS.

Looney, a 6'1" senior, was an All-State selection last year and has been an All-Conference performer since the eighth grade. She has also been a member of the WBC All-Tournament Team, as well as the NEA All-Tournament Team. Looney was a state finalist for the Wendy's Heisman Award. She is shooting 58 percent from the field this season, averaging 14.6 points and 10.4 rebounds per game.

"She is obviously an outstanding basketball player," said Clifford Rorex, girls basketball coach at WRHS, adding, "I feel WBC is getting someone with excellent character as well. She has always represented our program in a first class manner and there's no doubt in my mind she'll do the same out there.

"Every night our opponents are trying to key in on her," Rorex added. "She gets double-teamed and triple-teamed every night, and to still be able to come out and put up the numbers that she has is really a testament to the type of player she is."

Lady Eagles Head Coach Carol Halford said, "Rachel is a strong defensive player, and she also has a soft touch around the basket. As she continues to improve, she can become a real contributor to our team. It's also great when we can sign a student-athlete this close to home."

Looney is also a high achiever in the classroom. She scored a 30 on her ACT exam, has a 4.1 grade point average at WRHS and is a member of the National Honor Society. Looney has been awarded a President's Select Scholarship, which is awarded based on students' college entrance examination scores, to attend Williams Baptist College. In her sophomore year, she was selected as a Hugh O'Brian Conference delegate. She is also a graduate of the Ralph Joseph Youth Leadership Class. Looney has served as a Girls State delegate and was chosen as the DAR Good Citizen for the 2007-08 school year at Walnut Ridge High School.

"She goes above and beyond in academics as well as athletics," said her mother, Karen. "You don't see a lot of that."

Looney, who is the daughter of David and Karen Looney of Walnut Ridge, said one of the main reasons she chose Williams is because it is close to home.

"My family is here. I have a little sister, and being this close I will be able to watch her dance and play sports," she said. "I wasn't really sold on Williams until we went to preview the campus. I saw what a great college it is, and they have good academic classes. I had never realized how advanced they are academically.

"I am looking forward to playing with new girls, though I will miss my teammates. I am also looking forward to playing the college games and traveling. It's going to be a lot of fun," she added.

"The exciting thing is she'll be close so local fans who have followed her throughout high school will be able to follow her college career as well," Rorex said. "I know her parents are excited about that, but a lot of her fans are as well."

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