Banks cashes in for VHS

Published 1:04 am Sunday, April 13, 2014

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Freshman led county in scoring

There were times this season when it seemed the only person who could stop Mikayla Banks was standing on her own sideline.
“Sometimes I had to tell her specifically to pass, so we wouldn’t get into the mindset of ‘Just give Mikayla the ball and let her go,’” Vicksburg High coach Karen Carroll said. “When she got the ball, she was going to beat her defender — and our players ­— up the field.”
Other times, Carroll sat her star player during blowouts to keep even simple rushes from turning into breakaway scoring chances.
Despite the coach’s best efforts, Banks still wreaked plenty of havoc on the pitch.
The freshman midfielder scored 24 goals this season — her third as a starter while helping Vicksburg win the Division 4-5A championship. She capped off her stellar season by being selected as The Vicksburg Post’s girls Soccer Player of the Year Award.
It’s the first time Banks has won the award, but is just one of many accolades she’s likely to rack up before her high school career is over.
“I didn’t expect to get it, I really do try hard to get some of these awards,” Banks said. “I want to try to get this many more times, and be our MVP and captain. I don’t have a mindset on what I want my total goals to be as a senior, but I have a feeling it’s going to be good.”
Banks’ goal total is already more than most players manage in a career. She scored seven as a seventh-grader in the 2011-12 season, then 19 last year.
Her total this season brought her career total to 50 and has put her on pace to surpass the 100-goal mark late in her junior year.
“When I first got her, I thought she was going to beat any back line in the state. And she did,” said Carroll, who took over as the Missy Gators’coach this season. “She’s the true future of this team. She’s just a phenomenal player.”
Offensively, at least, Banks was the driving force behind Vicksburg’s resurgence as a program.
The Missy Gators reached the playoffs for the first time since 2010, and won their division for the first time since 2005. A first-round playoff exit against New Hope did little to douse excitement for the future.
“Next year I want to go all the way to the finals,” Banks said. “The team we played that beat us, they went to the finals. That means if we could’ve beaten them, we could’ve made it to the finals.”
Individually, Banks also has lofty goals. The state record of 231 career goals, held by Amory’s Addie Forbus, is likely out of reach, but Banks has it and a host of other milestones on her wish list.
“Hopefully I can break the record. It would make me happy, and my family proud, and I’d be proud myself,” Banks said. “It’d mean a lot to me. I want to break a lot of records. I just want to make it far.”

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About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 139-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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