By Joey McWilliams
SHAWNEE – Two new names are to be listed among the basketball greats in Shawnee with the induction of the Class of 2021.
Kelsee Grovey and Gerna Williams are to be inducted in the Shawnee High School Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday. The recognition will take place at halftime of the boys’ game, as the Wolves host a doubleheader with Piedmont.
Williams (Class of 1979) competed when girls basketball in Oklahoma played the 6-on-6 version and said she was excited when she received the letter saying she would be entering the Hall of Fame.
“I was like, ‘What?!’ Williams said. “I just felt elated. I had never really thought about being in the Hall of Fame. But I was on the first Shawnee Lady Wolves basketball team and I was a pioneer.”
The program started in 1977 and Williams started as a point guard both her junior and senior years. Playing for Shawnee in its first games, Williams said she was both excited and nervous.
“I loved it. I loved sports and was very athletic, so it was easy for me. And we had the fans out there cheering us on, so it was really nice.”
She also played on the Shawnee softball team and ran track with several relay teams.
An entrepreneur, Williams currently resides in Texas. She works with special needs students in the Grapevine Colleyville ISD and owns and operates two group homes.
“One is a home where young adults with mental challenges can come to live,” Williams said. “They may have bi-polar, ADD, ADHD, schizophrenia – they can come live here, because it may be hard for them elsewhere. And one of the homes is for retired veterans, who need somewhere to live.
“I named them after my late mother. They are called Goldia’s Safe Haven.”
Williams said she enjoyed the travel and camaraderie she had with her teammates and when cheerleaders and others would toilet paper the trees around after big wins.
Grovey (Class of 2012) won’t have to travel to participate in recognition, as she currently serves on staff with the Shawnee athletic department. She is the assistant coach of the varsity girls’ team and head coach for the freshmen and junior varsity teams.
Grovey started for the Wolves for four years and led the team to two state tournaments and an undefeated season in 2011-2012 (29-0), which was culminated by the program’s first state championship. She went on to play at the University of Tulsa, where she is sixth on the all-time scoring list.
“I think my first reaction was, ‘Oh my gosh!'” Grovey said about hearing she would be in the Hall of Fame. “It happened to be on the same day as our first varsity game this year. And being back, being in the place that helped to develop me into the person and player that I am, being back coaching and then finding out I’m being put in the Hall of Fame, it just made me even more sure that I’m in the right place right now.
Grovey said she really enjoyed her time playing at Shawnee and it’s where a lot of her best friends are from.
“Whenever I got to the basketball program, it’s not a secret, it wasn’t the best,” Grovey said. “But I took that as a challenge going into my freshman year. I wanted to build the program into something better. My high school basketball days really were about that – coming in every single day and getting better.
“Freshman year, we didn’t win that many varsity games. Sophomore year, we got better. We got better my junior year and we had some really good move-ins. Senior year, we went 29-0 and won state and that just topped it all off.
“It showed that hard work really does pay off. And we had two of the best coaches in Wendi Wills and Steve Freeman.
“It was awesome! It was hard, but it was all worth it.”