Cooper Signs Record-Setting Ohio High School Star

   WEST LIBERTY, W.Va. – West Liberty University women's basketball coach Kyle Cooper has announced the signing of Grace Lyon, a record-setting 6-1 frontliner from Navarre (Ohio) Fairless High School.

   A four-year starter with the Falcons and a standout on her Team Huddle AAU team, the versatile Lyon was the leading scorer in Stark County (17.7 ppg.) and the second-leading rebounder (11.3 rpg.) as she helped lead Fairless to an Ohio Division III sectional title.

   Lyon was at her best in the sectional final, scoring 26 of her team's 41 points in a 41-39 overtime victory against a higher-seeded Smithville High School squad.

   "We cannot wait to get Grace on campus," Cooper said. "We believe that once she learns our system and makes the transition to the college game she has the potential to impact the game on a high, high level. Grace is a true post with really good size and athleticism who runs the floor extremely well. She can guard multiple positions and rebounds the ball hard. Grace also brings a versatile skill set around the rim with the ability to play with her back to the basket or facing up and has some of the best hands we have seen. she checks off an awful lot of boxes."

   Equally comfortable working the paint with her back to the basket or stepping outside to drain a 3-pointer, the two-time Team MVP set a school record with 762 career rebounds and ranks among the Top 10 all-time at Fairless with 1,062 career points.

   The Ohio Division III District IV Player of the Year, Lyon has been a force for the Falcons since the first time she stepped on the court. Now a three-time All-PAC-7 and All-District selection, she was a first-team All-Stark County pick and earned honorable mention on the All-Ohio Division III team. She played in the Summit/Stark County All-Star Game earlier this week and has been invited to play in the prestigious Ohio Division III/IV North-South Game.

   Lyon adds to an impressive recruiting haul for the Hilltoppers, who landed two other Buckeye State standouts in the fall during the November early-signing period.

   Olivia Baker is a 5-8 wing and 1,000-point scorer from a 27-1 Shelby High School team that went 27-1 this year and finished the season ranked No. 1 in Ohio Division II. Bailey Beckstedt, another 1,000-point scorer, is a 5-8 play-making point guard who helped lead Thornville Sheridan to a runner-up finish at the Ohio Division II state tournament.

   "We're really excited to have Grace joining Bailey and Olivia in this recruiting class," Cooper said. "With those three true freshmen on our roster, we have not only added talent and depth but created balance long term. They are great people who come to us from great families and will be great fits for our family here on the hilltop. We made some significant strides this season and there's no doubt the future is bright for our program."

   The West Liberty women return four of five starters - all double-figure scorers - along with several key reserves from this season’s 21-9 team that came on strong down the stretch to notch a third-place finish in the Mountain East Conference. 

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