Ahead of her senior basketball season, incoming Tullahoma senior Kailyn Farrell is being touted as one of the best players in the state. In fact, the forward was invited by TN Report to participate in the “Best of the Best” workout in the state this coming September.
“I am very grateful and blessed to receive this opportunity,” Farrell said. “I’ve been working really hard and staying in the gym. I’m extremely excited to get out and compete in front of some highly respected coaches. It means a lot to me to know that I was chosen among many other talented girls in the state.”
As of press time, an official date and location for the workout had not been designated. However, Farrell said she expects to be one of 40 players selected to compete in the “Best of the Best” workouts. During that she said she expects to get to work with some of the best coaches across the nation and play five-on-five so players will have the opportunity to showcase their skills.
“I’m super excited to see the talent that’s brought in,” Farrell said. “Since it is a few months away, I’m going to work extra hard in the gym, so I’m ready to go come September.”
This past season was a historic one for the Tullahoma girls basketball program, as it advanced to the sectional round of the playoffs. That postseason run was the longest in modern school history for the Lady Wildcats.
Tullahoma finished second in both the District 8-AAA Tournament and the Region 4-AAA Tournament to make it to sectionals. However, the Lady Wildcats’ run ended there with a 72-64 loss at Bradley Central March 7 to end the year with a 25-10 record.
“Last season was one for the books. We made history in Tullahoma and that was a feeling like no other,” Farrell said. “Honestly, it wasn’t a surprise to me. I knew we could do it and that we could beat anyone in the state when we played as a team.”
As a junior, Farrell was second in scoring for the Lady Wildcats, netting 15 points per game. She also averaged 7.9 rebounds a game, while adding 1.7 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.1 blocks per contest.
“Her unselfishness is what makes her special,” said THS Head Coach Cody McMurtry. “She could score 25 or 30 a game for us if she wanted to. She likes to get everybody else involved and she’s an ultimate team player in that sense… she’s always trying to improve the team as a whole, and that’s what really sets her apart.”
The Lady Wildcats head coach also noted that Farrell’s ability to hit shots all around the floor makes her unique. During her junior season, Farrell connected on 58 percent of her 2-point field goals, while hitting 43 percent of her 3-point opportunities and nearly 74 percent of her free throws.
“The ball will go through her, but when I was talking about her and her unselfishness, nine out of 10 times, she’s going to make the right pass,” McMurtry said. “Once we get into district play and some of the teams we play before that, you’ll see a lot of their players key-in on her. The great thing about her is that she isn’t a back-to-the-basket kind of player. She can go outside and hit a number of shots.”
After sports were shut down in the spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic, workouts were able to be held at the end of May at Tullahoma High School. The Lady Wildcats were included in those teams able participate in those workouts, something that Farrell called “awesome.”
“Being on quarantine was a huge eye-opener for me,” Farrell said. “It made me work a lot harder, because you never know when something like that could happen again. Not playing sports in the spring was really weird for me.
While basketball season went uninterrupted in Tullahoma, Farrell was forced to stop participating in two sports this past spring. Once the Lady Wildcats’ basketball season concluded, Farrell joined the THS softball team, playing in just two games.
Additionally, she was slated to compete in a couple of events for THS Track and Field Team. However, track and field events never took place before springs sports were cancelled. As a sophomore, Farrell qualified for the TSSAA State Track & Field Meet at MTSU, competing in the shot put.
“I had decided that I was going to try softball again and I developed some great relationships with the seniors. For their last season to be cut short was really upsetting,” Farrell said. “Playing sports in high school may look like no big deal from the outside looking in, but the bonds and friendships you make playing on these teams last forever.”
On the basketball court, Tullahoma will have a different look to its team, after four starters graduated. Farrell is the only remaining starter returning this fall, but said her team is loaded with talent.
“I’m super excited about next season, we have so many new faces in the gym now, and the talent is through the roof,” Farrell said. “This group of girls is especially great this year because they’re so hard working, everyone wants to get better every day and we get out and compete. The environment in the gym is so competitive and intense.”
Despite the new faces, Farrell said the Lady Wildcats’ goal this year is to make another deep playoff run. Included in that list of goals this coming season will be trying to earn a spot in the state tournament.
“That has never been done in Tullahoma before and it’d be amazing to leave our senior year with a state championship,” Farrell said. “I believe we can beat any team in the state again this year. We understand that we may not win every game in the regular season, but none of that matters if you continue to advance in the tournament.
“I also just would like to thank everyone from Tullahoma who came to countless games to support us and cheer us on. It truly makes a difference when you know people from your hometown are hours away cheering you on.”