Pilant Ready for the Next Level
Magnolia girls’ basketballs all-time leading scorer with 1,539 points, 1,419 rebounds, 250 assists, 215 blocks and 118 steals, is not saying goodbye to the hardwood sport anytime soon. Her college decision moves her to southern West Virginia as the newest member of the Concord University women’s basketball team. Head coach Kenny Osborne first reached out after an Amateur Athletic Union exposure tournament this past summer after watching Pilant at the state tournament her sophomore and junior seasons, and a visit to the Athens campus followed earlier this year.
“I loved the atmosphere and it just felt like home and a fresh start. All the girls were welcoming me and that was important,” Kyndra said. “I am pretty excited.” The choice between Osborne’s club, West Virginia Wesleyan and Urbana boiled down to where the 6-foot-1 Pilant would play. Urbana and Wesleyan viewed her as more of a post player. However, the Blue Eagle did not feel a primary down low position was her strongest bet at the next level.
Osborne and his staff agreed. Of course, the Mountain Lions already are bolstered in the paint by six-foot-four defensive wizard and two-time defending NCAA Division II field goal percentage champion 6-foot-4 post Riley Fitzwater. Fortunately for Pilant, her ball handling improved throughout this season as she played the point guard, both wings, and in the post on offense. This gives the Lions another skilled dribbler to space the floor around their center.
With her commitment, she becomes the seventh player from West Virginia on the CU roster. She also will have the chance to make an immediate impact. Madison May, the school’s second all-time leading scorer, graduates whenever the current COVID-19 pandemic subsides. However, Pilant’s not expecting to continue her scoring assault from high school to the next level.
“I just want to go play and if I can lead in assists or anything to help the team that is what I care about,” said Pilant.
Magnolia head coach and stepmother Meredith Pilant said, “She had the ball in her hands more than ever, and she expanded her game and really developed an outside shot and led our team in 3s made.”
Kyndra plans to keep adding things to her game over the summer. Osborne along with his assistant Telsa Southcott wish to see their new players outside game become more consistent. This aligns with Pilant’s desires as well.
“I need to get quicker and get used to the pace they play at, and get faster on defense. I am used to being able to guard many high school players because of my height. However, a lot more girls will be as tall as I am at the next level. I also am looking to get to the basket more and finish stronger, as well,” she said.
While making these adjustments is not possible now due to the novel coronavirus, Pilant is staying busy with her grandfather, Scott Tusic, owner of Steelton Barbell Club. Tusic has trained many high school athletes over the years. “He is pushing me hard and I really appreciate it,” she said. “Coach also gave me a few running and agility workouts as well.”
Her stepmother has no doubt Pilant will wear out the workouts. “She is just a competitor in every sense of the word,” said Meredith. “She will do whatever she need to earn playing time.”
She has participated in all sports, volleyball, track, softball and basketball at Magnolia High School. She excelled at all sports with numerous awards and always gave 100-percent.
Pilant is an All-OVAC Conference Academic winner, and has such honors as National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, Science National Honor Society and Principal List. She has also been a member of Sources of Strength Peer Leader and was a Peer Tutor.
Kyndra’s parents were both standouts, her father Kent Pilant, excelled in football and track and her mother Nikki Hardman Pilant, also starred on the hardwood at Magnolia High School.
I have had the privilege to watch Kyndra through the years and was impressed with her talent, desire and work ethic. I have no doubt she will succeed at the next level. Want to wish Kyndra the best of luck in the future moving forward.