Eagles will have mark on their backs
by Lori Tippets
After winning the state championship last year, Jacksonville’s Lady Eagles will be marked by every team that they face on their schedule.

Teams just think it is fun to beat the reigning champions.

“We haven’t said a whole lot about that,” said Coach Ryan Chambless. “Of course there is a whole lot expected of them.

“I have high expectations every year, both of myself as a coach and the kids that I coach.

“I think the mark is a little higher now and there is a bull’s eye on their backs, everyone will be gunning for them, everyone is going to want to knock them off.

“We’ve got to move on now and work for this year; what we did last year was last year.”

Without question, the hardest person to replace will be Lacey Buchannon. Buchannon scored 566 points last year at a 16.2 scoring clip per game.

“Lacy is special kid, commented Chambless, “a Lacy doesn’t come around very often, but Lacy was not the entire team.”

Filling in for Buchannon this year will be 10th grader Angel Kidd “Angel ran the point a lot last year and did a good job on defense. She is an aggressive scorer as well. She is capable of doing a lot of things,” commented Chambless.

Also back for the Lady Eagles is senior Sharon Osterbind. Osterbind was second in scoring last year with 357 points and will be looked at this year as the team leader.

“Sharon is coming back and everyone will gun for her. I compare Sharon to Tony Durrant; she is a good inside player and is also a really good outside player; people don’t realize how good she can handle the ball. She shoots the ball well from outside; she is a threat no matter where she is. She is such a fierce competitor and hates to lose. She will be a great player; everyone feeds off of her.”

Also back playing under the basket will be Kenyatta Ervin, without doubt one of the most unsung heroes on the court.

“Kenyatta is probably the biggest reason we won every game,” stated Chambless. She got a lot of rebounds and scored a lot of points. Whenever you got into trouble there was Kenyatta.”

Back at shooting guard will be Virginia Poe, a 10th grader who last year showed signs of greatness throwing up 3-pointers in key situations. “She is a good outside shooter and has gotten better at ball handling,” said Chambless. “She can run and jump, similar to Sharon, although very few are at Sharon’s level.”

Last year Chambless had many girls who came off the bench and helped the team. Destiny Easley came off the bench as a point guard and shooting guard and got a lot of experience.

Easley ended the year with the highest 3-point percentage.

Tamaria Mays is another tenth grader who is very improved player.

Also playing this year will be Abby Jaskoski, a senior transfer from JCA. Chambless says that Jaskoski hustles and is working hard to learn the plays.

Helping out the team this year will be senior Sarah Jo Harsch and Jasmine Easley.

“I think it is a good team because I see a lot of confidence in them that I didn’t see early on last year,” said Chambless. “That’s a big positive there.”

I really think Jasmine Easley can help us in a lot of spots, she knows our plays, knows what to do,” reported Chambless.

Queenteria Mooney will also see playing time for the lady Eagles.

Two ninth graders, Darrien Martin and Dasia Kirksey have also impressed Chambless. “They both have something you can’t coach-basketball sense.”

In the area will be Hokes Bluff, Centre, and Alexandria. Traditionally they are all always good. “As far as girls go, this is a tough area again, and possibly the toughest region again,” said Chambless.

Chambless feels the toughest thing facing the team is playing without Lacey. “With Lacey you could just get the ball to her and she would settle the team down; she was a quarterback. But Angel is coming back so we are not starting at ground zero.”

The Lady Eagles start their season this Friday at Etowah.
© 2012