By Grady Michael Gaynor
Franklin Central High School Junior Rayah Kincer has just come off a banner season. After recording a stat line of 19 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game, Kincer has been named an All-Star and is participating in the state/coaches IHSAA Underclass Top 100 Showdown on June 18.
At first glance, one would surely be impressed with Kincer’s ability to put her natural gifts to good use through hard work and determination. However, the story behind her accomplishments runs deeper than that.
Mid-season, her freshman year, Kincer suffered a torn ligament in her left ankle. The injury caused her to miss a 3-week portion of the season in rehab. In her sophomore season, Kincer made a hard drive to the lane where an opposing player stepped in front of her attempting to take a charge. The collision led to her tearing a ligament in her left elbow and missing the remainder of the year. After a pain-staking year of rehab, Kincer had yet another season cut short. This time, it was due to testing positive for Covid-19.
“My mindset was that I love the game of basketball so much, and I couldn’t imagine life without it,” said Kincer. “It was as if I did not have a choice but to return even stronger.”
FCHS head Women’s basketball coach Vince Cerbone is excited to see what is next for Kincer.
“Rayah has already had a great career for the Flashes. When you look at her accomplishments, you have to factor in the adversity she has overcome. She is truly a special all-around talent. In all 20 years I have been coaching, I’ve never seen a player work harder at their game. I think her best days are ahead of her.”
Gaining scholarship offers for the class of athletes set to graduate in 2022 has been tough with effects from the pandemic. Not only have scouts and coaches not been able to attend games, but scholarship spots are limited as college athletes were granted an extra year of eligibility. In July, Kincer’s AAU team, the Indiana Flight, will be the only team from Indiana out of 32 to participate in the Under Armour AAU Summer Circuit Located in Indianapolis.
While Kincer has drawn interest from a handful of Division I schools such as Ball State University, this will be her first big opportunity to show all the top schools in the nation her exceptional talent.