Warrenton’s Payne finds college home at HLGU

FUTURE TROJAN — Warrenton senior Malea Payne, front center, recently signed a letter of intent to continue her basketball career at Hannibal-LaGrange University. Pictured, front row from left, are Nathan and Maesie Payne. Back row, from left, are Emery, Novella and Audrey Payne. Submitted photo.
Jeff Stahlhut

Despite missing nearly her entire senior season of basketball due to a torn ACL, Warrenton High School senior Malea Payne has signed to play at Hannibal LaGrange University (HLGU). 

Just getting back on the court — anywhere — is a huge step that she is very much ready to experience. 

“I am looking forward to playing basketball again since I wasn’t able to play my senior season,” she said. “Playing high school basketball was some of the best years of my life.”

Warrenton coach Greg Williams noted that she played a huge role for the team. 

“Malea was a four-year varsity player. She mostly played power forward,” he said. “We certainly missed her leadership during her senior season which ended the third game of the season.”

Payne has fond memories of playing basketball for Warrenton under Williams. 

“I remember getting up early before school all freshman year just to get some extra practice in before school,” she said. “Playing for Coach Williams was a lot of hard work, but I couldn’t ask for a better coach and someone to prepare me for college.”

Payne began to consider HLGU when the coach, Kelly Quigle, contacted her after seeing her during her sophomore and junior seasons. 

“I first looked at Hannibal Lagrange because the coach had reached out to me. Once I went for a visit at the campus it just felt right,” Payne told The Record. “And Coach Quigle seemed like a perfect fit for my future basketball career.”

Quigle knew early on that Payne could be a part of her team after seeing her at a couple of different events. 

“I saw her play her sophomore year at the Rumble on the River in Quincy, Ill.,” she said. “I marked her as a player to keep my eye on. I then saw her play her junior year at an exposure camp in Linn, Mo. This is when I knew she would be someone I would like to have in our program.”

Quigle already has plans for what Payne can offer HLGU. 

“Malea will provide us with some different options on the inside,” she said. “She can play around the basket but she can also attack and create from the perimeter. She understands the game and is a good teammate.”


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