Kiski Area’s Johns excited to commit to Shippensburg for basketball

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Tuesday, September 5, 2023 | 8:35 PM


Abbie Johns still feels the excitement and also the relief.

A couple of weeks after making a basketball verbal commitment to Division II Shippensburg of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference, the Kiski Area senior two-sport standout continues to carry the momentum of her decision in the early stages of her final high school year.

“It was a big sense of relief to know I had made the decision and it was the best one for me,” Johns said. “I loved the recruiting process and everything that came with it, but my goal was to make (the verbal commitment) before volleyball and school started. I am just happy it is out of the way.”

Johns now is looking forward to the middle of November and the NCAA’s early signing period for basketball when she can officially make her decision final.

“I’ve gone to the college signing day events the past couple of years where friends and teammates were signing,” Johns said. “It’s always been pretty special to be a part of that.”

Traveling with her AAU team, Johns sent out film and other information to schools, including those in the PSAC, which caught her eye.

Shippensburg was one of the schools that responded, and the ball began to roll. The two sides remained in contact through Johns’ AAU season, and she received the offer at the end of July.

“I just loved everything about the campus, the (basketball) program, and all of the opportunities I know I will have there,” Johns said. “The coaches, the players, and the atmosphere they create, it all came together for me. I know I made the right choice.”

Johns understands that the decision she made is the conclusion of one journey and the beginning of another toward this time next year and that she can’t rest on her laurels. She said she’s looking forward to the chance to be a part of a program that has enjoyed a lot of success including the 2022-23 season that saw the Raiders go 25-7 overall, 18-4 in the PSAC, and finish runner-up to nationally ranked Gannon in the conference title game.

Shippensburg’s season came to a close in March with two games in the NCAA Division II Atlantic Regional.

“They compete pretty highly in the PSAC every year, and I am excited to be able to go there and hopefully help continue that,” Johns said.

Johns said she was excited to announce her decision, which came with a posting on X (Twitter). It was the culmination and reality, she said, of a dream born out of practice and games since elementary school and fostered further since middle school.

Johns’ commitment to Shippensburg came from a field of offers which included Olivet Nazarene, an NAIA school in Illinois, as well as PSAC schools Mansfield and Millersville.

Johns said it is another addition to her position as a role model for younger teammates and her two younger sisters, who also are into several sports in school and beyond.

“I just want them to know that if you put in the hard work and stay positive you can accomplish your goals,” Johns said.

While her volleyball season is in the present, she also has an eye on the basketball season, which officially starts with practices in mid November.

She said there is optimism surrounding the team after last year’s Cavaliers squad earned a WPIAL playoff spot for the first time since 2012.

Johns led the team in scoring last year at 14.9 points a game. She added six rebounds a contest and was consistent from the foul line at 80.4% (82-102).

Her performance earned her Section 1-5A and Valley News Dispatch first-team all-star recognition.

“I am super excited for Abbie because she not only is a strong player and will make a difference for Shippensburg, but she also is that role model for the girls in our program,” Kiski Area girls basketball coach Dave Williamson said. “The work she’s put in, she’s done the requisite work to get to where she’s at. I am proud to be able to use that for others coming up through the program, including my daughters.

“If this is your goal, to play in college, this is what you need to do. There is no easy road. Abbie knew what she had to do to get to where she is and where she will be in the future.”

Michael Love is a TribLive reporter covering sports in the Alle-Kiski Valley and the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh. A Clearfield native and a graduate of Westminster (Pa.), he joined the Trib in 2002 after spending five years at the Clearfield Progress. He can be reached at mlove@triblive.com.

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