Traylor, Walker take basketball careers in new directions

Former Franklin guard Ashlyn Traylor recently represented her school as a member of the Indiana All-Star team. Daily Journal file photo

They are 329 days apart in age, virtual mirror images physically and possess a bond even geography won’t be able to lessen.

Ashlyn Traylor and her younger sister, Adelyn Walker, knew the inevitable fork in life’s road was out there somewhere.

On Sunday, they got a close-up view.

Traylor, a 5-foot-9 guard who helped lead the Franklin girls basketball team to a Class 4A runner-up finish and is coming off representing her state and school as a member of the Indiana All-Star team, left for Radford University in Virginia.

Walker’s travels will eventually take her west — to Scottsdale, Arizona, to be exact. The 5-7 guard, a junior sixth man for the Grizzly Cubs this past winter, leaves Aug. 6 to spend her senior year at Bella Vista, a college preparatory school.

More than 2,000 miles will soon separate their respective home basketball courts, forcing Traylor and Walker to rely on text messages, FaceTime and phone calls to stay in touch.

Making the process even more difficult is that both thoroughly enjoyed their lone year at Franklin.

“I have mixed feelings,” Walker said. “I’m excited for the opportunities this school is going to bring me, but I’m sad because of all the friends I’ve made here. I feel like we’re a family. The coaches, the girls … just the whole community, in general.

“And I’m going to miss Ashlyn’s presence, obviously. We click together. She’s just, like, a built-in best friend.”

The sisters transferred to Franklin from Martinsville during the early stages of the 2021-22 school year, maximizing their every moment in new surroundings.

Traylor averaged team highs of 17.1 points and 5.9 rebounds for the Cubs, who finished with a 28-2 record. Despite not starting a game all season, Walker provided averages of 8.4 points, 2.3 boards and 2.1 assists as the first player off the bench.

They did what some might consider difficult — making the transition from one Mid-State Conference school to another appear seamless.

Adelyn Walker, a force off the bench during her lone season at Franklin, will spend her senior year in Arizona. Daily Journal file photo

Traylor and Walker also brought a brand of play that continues to benefit the program.

“They brought an aggressiveness and a physicality we didn’t have before,” said first-year head coach Mike Armstrong, a Grizzly Cubs assistant the past two seasons. “And it wasn’t that way just in games. They practiced that way, too.

“I think that’s something that’s going to stay with our players even after (Traylor and Walker) are gone.”

Despite being on opposite ends of the country, the sisters will have family nearby.

Their mother, Danielle, will be an assistant girls basketball coach for Bella Vista, coached by former Connersville point guard and 1999 Indiana Miss Basketball April (McDivitt) Schilling.

Older sister Pa’Shence Walker, a former Martinsville standout, is going to play hoops at Central Arizona College, located just 52 miles south of Scottsdale.

Ashlyn and Adelyn’s oldest sister, Kayana Traylor, a 2018 Indiana All-Star from Martinsville who has also played at Purdue, will be a senior guard for Virginia Tech women’s basketball squad during the 2022-23 season. Kayana’s apartment is a 15-minute drive from the Radford campus.

Besides playing basketball at Radford, Ashlyn Traylor will major in biology with an interest in one day becoming an orthodontist.

She’s currently at Radford taking summer classes and working as a counselor for the school’s women’s basketball camp.

“I am obviously upset because I love (Franklin),” Traylor said. “Last season was the best season of my whole basketball career. I have to credit coach (Josh) Sabol and our other coaches for bringing out the best in me. Every day, we were doing something that made us better.

“But it’s going to be nice having Kayana close, and I love the Radford campus, the coaches and the girls in the basketball program. I visited over spring break, and it just felt like home to me.”