Joining the River Ridge team as an eighth-grader — because the high school had just opened and they needed girls to fill out the roster for a junior varsity schedule — Stone stepped right onto the court. By the time she began her freshman year, she was a central player, earning the role of point guard.
Stone started every game that season, and the next. In fact, over four years, Stone missed just one start — on senior night her junior year, when the lineup was filled with the team’s senior players.
Stone recalls how she felt when she didn’t start that night, the first senior night River Ridge had celebrated. Behind the excitement for her teammates was a bit of disappointment, but when senior night came around for Stone herself, she understood a bit more.
“I understood when I didn’t start, and I wasn’t planning on starting anyway,” Stone said. “I was glad my other teammates had that opportunity to start ahead of me. (On my senior night), I wasn’t expecting to cry, but I ended up crying my eyes out. I just wasn’t ready for it to end.”
River Ridge coach Jason Taylor said it would be impossible to imagine the Lady Knights without Stone over the past several years.
“She has started 122 of 123 games and has a record of 79 wins and 34 losses,” Taylor said. “She has led her team to the state tournament four years in a row as the starting (point guard), going to the (state quarterfinals) last year and (second round) this year.”
In Stone’s final season, as Taylor shifted her role from handing out assists to scoring, she averaged 16.2 points per game, to go along with 4.6 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 2.1 steals. She set the River Ridge single-game scoring record with 30 points against Holy Innocents’, and in what she recalled as her fondest memory of the season, she scored the 1,000th point of her career on senior night.
“That was the greatest experience of my career, without a doubt,” Stone said.
For all that she accomplished this season, Stone is the 2013-14 Cherokee Tribune Girls Basketball Player of the Year.
The honor is fitting for Stone, not just because of her stats, but because of how she performed against county opponents.
Against Creekview, Stone totaled 11 points, four assists and three steals. Playing Cherokee twice, she averaged 10.5 points, 4.5 assists, 5.5 rebounds and one steal. Against Woodstock, she averaged 12 points, 4.5 assists, five rebounds and a steal, and against Sequoyah, she had 17 points, six assists, two rebounds and three steals.
Stone’s best game came against Etowah, when she tallied 21 points, six assists and four rebounds.
“Lucy was the heart and soul of our team, and without her, we wouldn’t have had the success we had this season as well as seasons past,” Taylor said.
Stone said that being a part of the program as an eighth-grader, and even as a freshman, helped mold her as a player, and eventually into the leader the team would need.
“It helped me grow as a player and a teammate,” she said. “It really helped me be a leader and step up at a young age. Not many people get to do that and it helped me a lot.”
Stone said that being a part of an AAU basketball team also helped her as her senior season required her be one of the team’s leading scorers.
“It felt awkward at first, but I got the hang of it,” Stone said. “It ended up working out well.”
Stone had plenty of talent around her, from post player Jessica Mlaska to shooting guard Jessica Baker. The Lady Knights had the tools to exceed, even if the season ended sooner than they wanted to, in the second round of the state playoffs.
“I wish we could have gone further, and I feel like we should have gone further,” Stone said. “We left everything we had on the court. I mean, if I could go back and do it all over again, I definitely would.”
As Stone looks ahead to the next stage in her career, she has signed to play at Armstrong Atlantic, an NCAA Division II college in Savannah. A natural ball-handler and solid shooter, Stone is a balanced player who will have a lot to offer at the college level.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Stone said. “I think it will be a great challenge.”