By TONY STINNETT, Courier Sports Editor
Rebekah Faulkner didn't like the image of her future without basketball in it so she dedicated herself to making sure options would be available.
Faulkner extended her basketball career four years when she signed with Sewanee - The University of the South during a ceremony at Cannon County High School Thursday (April 17).
Faulkner, the daughter of David and Rene' Faulkner, is the third member of the 2013-14 Lionettes to ink a college scholarship, joining Abbey Sissom (MTSU) and Madison Walkup (Tennessee Wesleyan). She becomes the sixth Lionette to sign college scholarships over the past four years.
"I never really thought about college basketball until (my junior year)," Faulkner said. "I realized I only had one more year. I couldn't imagine not being able to play more so I started talking to mom and dad about it. Before (my senior season) I signed up for the Clearinghouse. If it didn't work out at least I tried."
Faulkner took care of the administrative responsibilities required to assure student-athletes qualify for college. Her play on the court helped make sure opportunities to play would exist.
Faulkner averaged 9.3 points and 7.4 rebounds as a senior. She tallied several double doubles and improved every area of her game. Faulkner performed at a competitive level despite playing with an ankle injury since mid-December.
"Mental toughness is not a question for her," Lionette Head Coach Michael Dodgen said. "Rebekah improved her game tremendously from her junior year to her senior year. She displayed work ethic and desire and want to. She wanted this opportunity and she got it."
Faulkner, who is the top female graduate in her class and third overall, said academics also were an important part of the equation and Sewanee offered the best of both worlds.
"Education is very important to my parents and me," Faulkner said. "I wanted to be able to go to a school where I could get a good, quality education so I would be better prepared for when basketball is no longer there. Sewanee is close and that's important because I wanted to be near my family. I like that the school is smaller. The players are really nice. I feel at home there."
Dodgen said Sewanee actively recruited Faulkner and Walkup throughout the season. He believes Sewanee provided the complete fit for Faulkner.
"It's a great opportunity for her in the fact that Sewanee is very strong academically," Dodgen said. "Rebekah is very academic oriented and she is getting an opportunity to play four more years at a good, established program. A lot of kids want the opportunity to play at the next level. She is actually getting that."
Faulkner played in back-to-back state tournaments with the Lionettes. Being in a quality program and playing at a high level were key components for exposure.
"I think it helped that we went to the state tournament, and that I play in a good program," Faulkner said. "Playing at Cannon County gives you a chance to be looked at, plus we have good coaches that help us in that regard. The big thing is my teammates. Without them I would have never made it this far."