By Shiela K. Haynes
Reese Lindley and Crayton Klika were selected as Most Athletic by their peers. Lindley is a three-year varsity player for the Lady Raiders basketball team. Klika is a multi-sport standout with two years of varsity experience each in football, basketball, and baseball.
Lindley built a strong athletic resume in high school. The senior played on teams that advanced into the UIL Class 3A state tournament in 2020 and again in 2022. Out of 239 schools in the classification, the state tournament is a privilege reserved for only the top four teams. In Lindley’s senior season, the Lady Raiders reached the state championship game where they fell to Fairfield. The Lady Raiders were a state semifinalist in her sophomore season.
Lindley’s basketball journey started early. She said she played tee ball starting at age five but was fully committed to basketball by first grade.
She realized early on that the Lady Raiders were different.
“As soon as I started, I went to a Lady Raider camp and realized this was not a regular camp,” she said.
By middle school, she recognized the expectations for the high school varsity was an appearance at the state tournament. Anything short of that was a failure.
“It feels great to know (state) is your goal. It is not about winning district, not about going to regional,” she said.
The Lady Raiders experienced a premature exit from the 2021 playoffs when they fell in the regional tournament.
“When we made it to the fourth round my junior year and lost to Ponder, we were heartbroken. People said, that’s a great accomplishment. And we were like no, it’s not. We have to go to state. It was awful knowing your season was cut short like that. Anyone else would be grateful; people saw us as ungrateful. But (state) was our goal. It is what we worked for. We didn’t work for sixth place.”
Lindley is exceptionally quick-handed and fleet-footed with excellent court vision and the ability to rapidly analyze any on-court situation and map out a plan of attack. Winnsboro plays an up-tempo style with a relentless pressure defense and an assertive offense. Only the best conditioned athletes can maintain the blistering pace.
“It takes some time to adjust to the speed of the Winnsboro game,” said Lindley.
“Everything clicks now. I am not that confident in myself. But in basketball, I feel like I can do anything.”
After the Ponder loss in 2021, the team kicked up their strength and conditioning program.
“All of the kids were improved from it. But Reese probably bought in more than anyone and transformed her body, her mindset, and became not only a good basketball player, but a really good athlete. We could take her athleticism and it made us a different team from the way she was able to play defense and pressure the ball,” said head coach and girls athletic director Robert Cochran.
“She was probably our best-conditioned player. She didn’t get tired, she could play more minutes, and could still play at that same speed. It is rare that you see that.”
Lindley said basketball has shown her the importance of hard work in achieving goals.
“For most people, if one bad thing happens, they want to give up. In basketball, I’ve learned if something bad happens to just push through it to achieve your goals. Most people just give up. I will be able to push through to reach my goals,” she said.
With respect to the advice she might give players coming into high school, she said, “Your hard work will pay off. You might not be the best basketball player, but if you put in the hours every day, and play hard in practice and in workouts, you will be rewarded.”
Lindley is a true student-athlete with a 4.5 weight grade point average on a 4.0 scale.
She plans to pursue a career as a medical aesthetician. Her parents are Dakotah and Billy Joyner, and Corey Lindley.