Casey basketball coach Randy Salyers said essentially the same thing about Coffman.
“She has all the qualities you would want in an athlete, and she has a lot of desire to get better,” Salyers said. “She would be good in just about any sport.”
The two girls were picked by a selection committee. Upchurch, a senior, is Lincoln’s first female athlete of the year since Jenny Jones in 2006; Coffman, a junior, is the first Casey girl to be honored since Misty Hair in 2000.
The Upchuches have long been one of the first families of 12th Region basketball, and Upchurch has done her part to maintain that legacy. She was named the Advocate’s Area Player of the Year and the Kentucky Association of Basketball Coaches 12th Region Player of the Year.
Story said Upchurch’s best quality isn’t her shooting or dribbling or defense, but something less tangible.
“The one thing that sticks out in my mind is leadership,” Story said. “She just exudes confidence in whatever she’s trying to do, whether it’s in the classroom or on the court, and people pick up on that and want to be part of that.”
The Lincoln coach said that is a large part of what will make Upchurch successful beyond her career in basketball, which will continue at the University of the Cumberlands.
“She’s going to be a success at whatever she determines that she wants to be,” he said. “She’s going to be successful and make a lot of us proud, nobody more than her family.”
Upchurch’s interests outside basketball are many. She has held officer positions in the National Honor Society and Fellowship of Christian Athletes and was active in several other clubs within her school, and off campus she has been part of two church mission teams — including one taking an upcoming trip to Peru — and was in the Lincoln County Junior Miss competition.
“She’s going to live a full life. Basketball’s going to be a part of that, and it’s just kind of a vehicle helping her with her college education,” Story said. “She’s said that maybe she wants to be a coach in college. But who knows what she’ll be?”
On the court, Story said Upchurch’s versatility made her valuable.
“We could have used her, probably, in a lot of different ways. If we’d wanted to put more emphasis on her scoring, we could’ve done that. She was extremely talented in all the facets of basketball,” he said.
Upchurch led Lincoln in scoring with 12 points per game and had a team-high 53 assists, often playing at point guard even though that isn’t her natural position. She shot 47 percent from the field and 67 percent at the free-throw line.
She participated in the Kentucky-Ohio all-star game, where she won the 3-point shooting competition among the Kentucky players, and she was invited to the tryouts for the team chosen for the Kentucky-Indiana all-star series.
Upchurch was also a valuable player for the Lincoln soccer team, even though she played that sport for only two seasons.
She had four goals and one assist in Lincoln’s 18 games, and she even spent some time as the Patriots’ goalkeeper in one game.
“She played soccer, and she was on the swim team at Dix River (Country Club) for a while,” Story said. “We were trying to get her to play golf, and she said it wasn’t active enough for her.”
Salyers said Coffman carries the look of an athlete, whether she is on the track or on the basketball court or even just walking down the school hallway.
“I’ve had so many people walk up to me and ask about her, and they’ve said, ‘Man, she just looks like an athlete,’” Salyers said.
The Casey coach said the skills that go with that look have helped the Rebels basketball team in all sorts of ways.