Drury Alum Cunningham 'Excited' to Join County Hall of Fame
PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- On the hardcourts of Berkshire County, Katlyn Cunningham knew Courtney Shepard as a dangerous opponent.
At Schenectady, N.Y.'s, Union College, Cunningham got to know Shepard as a teammate and friend.
And earlier this month, Shepard let Cunningham know that the two will be forever linked as members of the second class of the Berkshire County High School Girls Basketball Hall of Fame.
"She found out from [Pittsfield High] coach [Joe] Racicot that I was on the list, and she said, 'Oh, can I call her?' " Cunningham said this week in a telephone interview from near her home in eastern Massachusetts.
"I actually had no idea about the hall. I was excited. It's a nice honor. I was definitely shocked. It was totally unexpected."
Those who remember Cunningham from her days at Drury High School probably were not surprised when she was named to the list of players, coaches and officials who will be honored on Saturday afternoon at Taconic High School.
Cunningham scored 1,265 points with the Blue Devils, helping Drury to the Western Massachusetts finals before going to Union, where she was eventually joined by a formal rival, Shepard, a 1,498-point scorer for Pittsfield.
"She was always one of those players you have to pay attention to all the time," Cunningham said of Shepard. "She could score from anywhere on the court.
"She came and stayed with me for her recruiting visit [to Union]. I didn't really know her that well when we were playing against each other. ... She's such a fun girl. It was a really good experience to have someone from a couple of towns over on my team."
The two have stayed close in the years since graduation, although Cunningham, who majored in psychology at Union, now is pursuing a career in social work in the Boston area.
The friends will be reunited on Saturday at 3 p.m. at Taconic as part of a daylong Hall of Fame celebration. The day begins at 11 a.m. with a series of youth basketball clinics, continues with the induction at 3 and a varsity game between Lee and Taconic at 3:30 and concludes with a Hall of Fame Social at J. Allen's Restaurant on North Street in Pittsfield.
Cunningham said she has learned about the Hall since hearing of her nomination to it and is looking forward to joining the other great players from last year's inaugural class and Saturday's group.
"I'm familiar with a bunch of them," she said. "I played against a handful of them at different points in my high school career.
"I think the whole concept of the hall is great for the girls today. It's cool for the youth to see the history of basketball in the Berkshires -- women's basketball in the Berkshires."