Clifton Forge honors star basketball player with proclamation

By Lindsey Ward - Anchor

Honoring a hometown hero.

Clifton Forge is proclaiming Saturday, August 10 as Trudi Lacey Day.

She began her basketball career on the hardtops in the small mountain town but later helped lead NC State to its first ACC title in women's basketball.

Among the shelves of books in the Clifton Forge Library sits a display of all things Trudi Lacey.

The star basketball player's successful career began on the local playground.

“She always had that ball like right here and so we knew that was her passion,” said Clifton Forge Vice-Mayor Pamela Marshall.  “She played basketball with the guys on the playground, so she was always honing her basketball skills.”

Marshall remembers cheering for Lacey when they were in high school together.

“I remember she was a superstar here at Clifton Forge High School,” Marshall said.

Lacey would go on to be the first African-American woman in NC State's history to earn a four-year scholarship to the school.

She even helped lead the Wolfpack women to their first ACC title.

This year, the university inducted the stand-out player into the school's athletic hall of fame, making her the perfect fit as the town's first-ever "Hometown Hero" honoree.

“As I wrote the proclamation, I thought, I can't put all the things on it that this woman has done,” said Clifton Forge Town Manager Darlene Burcham.

As Lacey continues to write her story from player to coach and manager, she has certainly spoken about where it all began.

“I have very fond memories of growing up in Clifton Forge and there were so many people in the community that took an interest in me and wanted to see me do well and supported me being a little girl from a small town with a big dream. Nobody accomplishes anything without love and support, and I certainly had that in our community of Clifton Forge,” said Lacey.

“Trudi always says, 'I'm a native of Clifton Forge,' so she's proud to be born and raised here and we want to show her that we're proud of her accomplishments,” Marshall said.

The town hopes to continue the “Hometown Hero” honor annually.

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