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The Student News Site of Whitmer High School

The Panther Press

The Student News Site of Whitmer High School

The Panther Press

The Student News Site of Whitmer High School

The Panther Press

Girls basketball’s newest addition

Mackenzie Royal Davis (left) and Jada Shoup (right) posing for media day

Senior Mackenzie Royal-Davis started her first year playing basketball at Whitmer and is already becoming an essential player on the girl’s varsity team. Her talent on the court is as electric as her personality and her dedication to her skills, her team, and anyone around her is amazing. Sitting down to talk about all things basketball and the Lady Panther sisterhood, Mackenzie welcomed me into her world.

Mackenzie may be new to Whitmer basketball, but she has known Varsity Head Coach Leon Kynard for most of her life – he is one of the reasons that she transferred here.

“When I was in elementary school, he coached me then, so I knew that he knew my family,” Mackenzie shares.

After spending most of elementary school at Jackman, Mackenzie left Washington Local in order to attend Toledo Christian for 7th thru junior year. Even though she only knew one coach on her return to WLS, once she met the whole staff, she knew this was the place for her.

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“They really push you here to be better. They see your weaknesses and they don’t just let you pass along. They actually force you to work on something to better yourself,” Royal-Davis states.

While Mackenzie is getting better, her addition has helped her fellow teammates like varsity player senior Jada Shoup.

“Having her play the post with me is amazing. It takes stress off of me and balances it between us,” Shoup explains.

Mackenzie is able to help her teammates thanks to her long basketball career starting in first grade and she looks up to her sister who also plays.

“My sister was really good at it”. Mackenzie explains that basketball is always just something that her family shares. Royal-Davis’ older sister is currently playing basketball at the collegiate level. When they were little, her big sister always included Mackenzie.

“They gave me a ball too. And, I think I had a natural talent for it,” Royal-Davis explains.

Over the past five seasons of junior high, Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), and Varsity at Toledo Christian; Mackenzie has received countless awards and accolades for her skills. Her proudest of these accomplishments was given to her last year.

“I got my 1,000 point ball, I love that… I got it in the middle of my junior year which is still pretty early for a lot of people,” Mackenzie shares.

So far this season, Mackenzie is leading her team in points (averaging 11.9 per game), field goal percent (43%), steals (averaging 1.6 per game), rebounds (averaging 8.5 per game), assists (averaging 2.2 per game), and blocks (averaging 1.6 per game). Coach Kynard expects that her career is far from over.

“Mackenzie’s career should reach the next level, which is college basketball. This kid’s talent is one of the best I have ever seen for her position,” Coach Kynard states.

When looking at the next level Mackenzie wants to attend a college with good coaches and her major.

“I want to go into electrical engineering because I really like math,” Mackenzie says.

Royal-Davis has already made a lasting impact on Whitmer’s girls basketball and the season is nowhere near over.

She optimistically shares, “I think we are gonna do great this season, and I’m so happy I get to be a part of this team”.

As I talked to Mackenzie she was joking the whole time, and had this self-confidence radiating off of her. I also had the honor of telling her that she received MaxPreps’ Player of the Game against St. Ursula. She scored 17 points and made 86% of her shots.

I had never talked to Mackenzie until the interview and at the end she referred to me as her friend. That is the kind of person Mackenzie Royal-Davis is. At the end of the day awards come and go, but to Mackenzie, it’s the people you meet along the way that really matter.

“They have formed a sisterhood. One for all, and all for one,” Coach Kynard shares.

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