Spencer County’s Daveigh Reichenbach scores during the Lady Bears’ 37-32 win over Anderson County on Jan. 27. (Photo by John Herndon)

As graduation approaches, Spencer County’s Daveigh Reichenbach talks about a career of highs and lows, growing through it all

By John Herndon,

TAYLORSVILLE, Ky. – It’s sometimes easy to see a high school athlete only in the context of the game itself. 

We see the uniform and evaluate a basketball player’s size, skills or college potential. That’s just the natural part of enjoying the game. And for the last three years, I’ve seen Spencer County’s Daveigh Reichenbach the same way. 

Rugged. Relentless. Extraordinary rebounder.

But as we talked at the Spencer County High School athletic complex, it became apparent that my perception of this exceptional young woman was correct, but limited to the 32-minute segments of her life spent as an undersized post player.

Daveigh Reichenbach (Photo courtesy Mike Marksbury)

We talked sports. We talked life. We talked about the future.

And the adjectives describing Daveigh Reichenbach became much more complete.

Reflective. Resourceful. Remarkable.

But seeing the success she’s had with the Lady Bears, it should not have been a surprise. Winners on the court are often winners in life and those closest to Daveigh expect the same from her as she nears her high school graduation. 

“She’s totally invested. She puts everything into what she is doing,” says Spencer County girls’ basketball coach John Howie. “She did that with (the 2022-23) team when this team really needed it. She was great with the older ones and may have been even better with the younger ones as far as leading, helping, pushing expectations but not letting her get frustrated.”

Anyone who saw the Spencer County girls over the last three years had no doubt about those first observations. And we suspected the last half of that statement as the Lady Bears set a school record for wins despite having to replace four starters, including their top three scorers from the year before.

It’s been the same in softball, where Daveigh is the anchor of a team full of young players, and football, where she’s served as manager for Coach Mike Marksbury the last two years.

“My junior year, (Marksbury) asked me and my friends to be ball girls for the team,” she recalls. “He needed help and we were just there as ball girls. My senior year, I was more of a ball girl.”

Marksbury says the traits that made Reichenbach an all-region basketball player were apparent in her role with the football team. “I needed some people to help but didn’t need a distraction,” he remembers. “You try to juggle 60 kids around and you need someone in that position like Daveigh. She’s very self-motivated and can take care of things on her own. She was a leader to the football team. Those kids look up to her.”

Daveigh Reichenbach drives to the basket against South Oldham in the 2023 Girls’ Eighth Region Tournament. (Photo by John Herndon)

Just like they did on the hardwood where she meant even more than her 16.2 points and 9.4 rebounds per game would indicate. 

“Being a senior, there’s a lot going on. There’s a lot going on school-wise,” said Reichenbach, who first cracked the starting lineup her sophomore year. “I was the only senior on this year’s team and we had a lot of underclassmen. We had seven sophomores, three freshmen and one eighth-grader and one seventh-grader.”

Her coach, John Howie noted she was, by far, the most experienced player Spencer had returning and used that experience to constantly encourage a talented group of younger players. When things didn’t go right, Howie says, she showed that maturity in a way fans would never see. “She would come to me with her frustrations instead of taking it out on her teammates,” he said. 

After beating Henry County on Feb. 1, Spencer stood at 19-4 and had won 11 of its last 12 games. Included in that streak was a 37-32 win at Anderson County, the Lady Bears’ first win over Anderson since December, 2001. Spencer took control in the second quarter then held on to snap 44-loss string in the series. The victory, arguably the biggest in the program’s history, transformed the Lady Bears from a very good club into the team to beat in the Eighth Region race in the eyes of some observers.

Even though Anderson turned the tables in the 30th District finals four weeks later, Reichenbach still smiles when talking about that monumental game in Lawrenceburg on Jan. 27. 

“We had heard ‘Anderson,’” she says of the team that had dominated the region her first three seasons. “Just to be able to shut them down…”

Daveigh breaks into a huge smile mid-sentence.  She doesn’t have to articulate the feeling of the breakthrough victory.

“I didn’t hear Clay (Birdwhistell, Anderson’s coach) a single time that game. That feeling was just so, ‘We Won!’ At halftime, I thought we had them beat.”

Daveigh Reichenbach shoots a free throw to tie the Eighth Region Tournament opener with 12.8 seconds to play on Feb. 27, 2023. (Photo by John Herndon)

But if anything, sports teaches that wins – and losses – are temporary. Despite the huge regular-season win at Anderson, Spencer fell short in its quest for the school’s first district championship in girls’ basketball. But Kentucky’s tournament format allows the district runner-up to keep playing.

When the Eighth Region Tournament pairings were announced, Spencer drew South Oldham, a team that some believed boasted the region’s most talented team. At Gallatin County High School, the see-saw affair went down to the final possessions.

With Spencer down two and 12.8 seconds to play, South fouled Reichenbach, who had struggled with free throws throughout her career. Drawing on what assistant coach Lee Maddox had worked with her on – not thinking about the moment – Reichenbach swished both attempts to tie things at 46.

But things soured when South Oldham scored with 2.3 seconds to go, ending Spencer’s season and Reichenbach’s high school career, 48-46.

The one who had given everything she had slumped to the floor at midcourt.

Daveigh still led her team and South players in a postgame prayer, as she had been doing all season. She’d been giving thanks after every win and still had reason to be thankful even though her high school basketball career was over and her team’s dream had died.

Howie says that attitude is a huge part of the Spencer program. 

“It’s important to me that our team learns more than just basketball,” he explained. “If we were to lose in the first game of the district or win the state tournament, you are talking about only two-and-a-half weeks. That time is special but I want every season to be so much more than basketball.”

Reichenbach, who Howie had coached since she was in sixth grade, says she tried to reflect that in her final postgame prayer. 

Daveigh Reichenbach leaves the floor in tears after her high school career ended in the Eighth Region Tournament on Feb. 27. (Photo by John Herndon)

“After South Oldham, that was tough, but I was thankful for my teammates,” she recalls. “I was thankful for every fan that has come to support us at every game throughout the year. Thankful for the GHP (-Sports, a local sports production company) broadcast. I was thankful for everyone’s support.

“When the buzzer sounded, I went to the floor. When I was walking off the floor, I was trying to hold it together and make it to the locker room, but I didn’t make it. There was a little hallway and I made it there. I just collapsed.

“I was in disbelief at the whole thing. I was like, ‘No way it is over.’”

But basketball was over. Softball was waiting, though.

She’s been a part of the Lady Bear varsity team since the seventh grade and hit .375 when Spencer advanced to the Eighth Region semifinals her eighth-grade season. Unfortunately, her freshman season (2020), when Spencer might have been a regional contender, was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Since then, Spencer has struggled on the diamond, and Daveigh has gone through a position change, moving from catcher to shortstop, where she’s one of the region’s top players today. 

“I played catcher through my sophomore year,” she says. “After my junior basketball season, my knees were shot. There was a chance of me catching and tearing my meniscus or ACL or something like that. There was no reason for it.”

And Daveigh’s bat has noticed. In 2021, she hit .359 with 4 home runs and 27 RBI. In 2022, the average jumped to .540 with 6 round-trippers and 19 RBI. According to KHSAA stats through May 1, Reichenbach is hitting .426 with a pair of home runs. She says her goal is to finish her high school career with a .450 season and for the team to advance farther than the one-game postseason of 2022.

Daviegh Reichenbach lays down a bunt during the 2022 softball season. (Photo by John Herndon)

But unless Daveigh’s plans change, that will be it as far as organized sports. Her first sports love is basketball and being a 5-foot-7 post player has limited her opportunities to play collegiately. 

“I just don’t think it’s for me,” she says of playing in college. “It’s hard to balance school and sports, especially at the college level.”

As of late April, Daveigh had not decided on where she would further her education but says she is interested in studying criminal justice as a prelude to a career as a prosecutor.

But regardless of what the future holds, Daveigh Reichenbach will always have a home in Spencer County, Kentucky. She says Howie has talked with her about returning to the Lady Bear program as a coach sometime down the road. 

“She has pride. She is selfless,” says Marksbury. “We have a lot of great students coming out of Spencer County High School and she’s top of the line.

“If we had more Daveigh Reichenbach’s coming out of high school, the world would not be in the shape that it’s in right now.”

As for Daveigh, she’s grateful she has had the chance to play sports she loves. And she’s grateful to God for the people that have come into her life.

“I have been blessed,” she says. “Every day you have to be thankful.”

Daveigh Reichenbach, center, fights for offensive rebounding position against Anderson County’s Faith McGregor during the 30th District Tournament championship game on Feb. 24. (Photo by John Herndon)


Perhaps the ultimate compliment an opponent could give Daveigh Reichenbach came in the 30th District Tournament championship game at Woodford County on Feb. 24 when Anderson County was determined to not let Reichenbach single-handedly determine the game. 

An incredible offensive rebounder despite her size, Reichenbach had snared 26 boards in the previous two games against Anderson. Lady Bearcat coach Clay Birdwhistell instructed whoever was guarding Reichenbach to stay face up on her instead of trying to keep her off the boards through traditional boxing out. Statistics were not available, but both coaches said the move to keep Reichenbach off the boards was a huge factor in the outcome.

Birdwhistell was essentially telling his team that the other four players would have to scramble for rebounds but whoever was charged with guarding Reichenbach was expected to concentrate on keeping her off the board and nothing else. 

“Daveigh’s will to win is at a different level than most high school kids,” Birdwhistell said. “She isn’t much taller than most point guards, but you look at the stat sheet and she has 14 rebounds. She simply wants the ball more than you do. It’s special.”

Daveigh Reichenbach goes for a basket against Anderson County in December. (Photo by Stephanie Herndon)
Daveigh Reichenbach leads both teams in a postgame prayer. (Photo by John Herndon)


  1. Daveigh Is My Granddaughter, Could Not Be More Proud Of This Young Woman,She Has A Bright Future. She Will Certainly Succeed In What She Chooses To Do. And I Will Certainly Stand Beside This Wonderful Young Lady. Daveigh Was Incredible To Watch Playing Basketball And Softball, She’s A Beast! Love You Kid💕💕💕💕


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