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A local 15U AAU team is prepping for the national tournament later this month. The Northeast Mississippi Lady Tigers currently boast a 26-4 record, along with several familiar faces to Union County.
Jazmine Spears and Kebrina Lucas of New Albany, along with Halle Knowles and Aspriona Gilbert of Myrtle are on the roster, and have made significant contributions to the team’s success so far.
“Kebrina is our starting point guard, and she’s done a very good job,” head coach Nathan Holdum said. “She doesn’t play point in high school, but she’s done a good job of getting better since she’s been playing, and Aspriona is averaging about 13 to 14 points a game, with Jazmine averaging about 15 to 16.”
Spears, Knowles and Gilbert have become close friends while being teammates throughout their AAU careers, even with their respective schools being county rivals.
“It’s fun, but it’s different because I’m not used to playing with them, but as we continue to play, I get to know how they play, so that’s good on my part,” Lucas said.
“It’s hard playing against your rivals, but you have to play as a team, stick together and try to push through it,” Knowles added.
All of the girls are working toward the obvious goal, improving their game in order to be more successful with at their high schools during the school year.
“I’m looking to improve my basketball skills as far as dribbling and shooting for regular season basketball.,” Knowles said.
“Halle is probably the best defender we have, but she’s improved on offense too,” Holdum added. “She’s hit some key three pointers in games to help us out in situations where the score was close. “
Another local is only a freshman and has taken notice to the talent from the county, as her team will face off against New Albany starting in the 2009 season.
“They have a lot of athletic ability, and they’re a lot of fun to be with,” North Pontotoc’s Andrea Lewis said. “They have good sportsmanship, and they don’t have bad attitudes. When the season starts, it’s going to be hard to play against them because you know what they can do, but it’s hard to stop them because they’re really good.”
The Lady Tigers will practice three more times and possibly play in one more tournament before nationals July 21-26 in Little Rock, Arkw.
“We’re excited to have a team this good, and I’m happy to be playing with the team I’m playing with,” Gilbert said. “We’ve all become a lot closer since we’ve been playing for so long.”
“It will be good for us, and we will have a lot of college coaches looking at us, so that’s a plus if we’re playing well,” Lewis added.
The Lady Tigers will first face off against the MGBR Elite from Michigan, with the winner taking on the winner of the Arkansas Kamikaze-Indy Wildcats Attack Elite matchup.
It’s a great experience to be able to play,” Lucas said. “I think it will be real fun. We’ll learn a lot from it.”