SCOTT COUNTY—Amanda Jackson took over the Jellico High School Lady Blue Devils only two months ago.
However, the new coach is extremely proud of her team during the game against Scott High School, as the team missed the Highlanders, 59-43.
“I’ve had a lot of people tell me how well they look already,” Jackson said of her team. “I’ve only had them for two months. They hired me in August, and I didn’t have any summertime with them. I didn’t have much pre-season time with them, so from what I’ve heard and from what I’ve seen last year, they have really come along. At this point, I’m really pleased.”
Coming out of the first quarter, Jellico trailed only 14-11, after having been tied 9-all with 1:33 to go in the first.
However, a strong surge to end the second quarter by the Lady Highlanders put the Lady Blue Devils behind 31-21 at the half.
“I think we kind of fell apart,” Jackson said. “We do not play a full complete game. We kind of break down in the second half, we get tired, and we want to throw the ball around and not focus on what we’re doing. That’s something we’re working on. Other than that, I could not be more pleased with my girls and what they showed me tonight.”
With 4:51 left in the third quarter, Jellico pulled to within five, 33-28.
The Lady Blue Devils couldn’t seem to bridge that one shot that would give them full momentum, as Scott High School would slowly pull back.
A trey by Merry Carson at 4:09 lifted the Lady Highlanders to a 36-28 lead, a score Jellico couldn’t recover from.
“It was a completely different team,” senior Brittany Vaughn said. “We were all together, and defense was on it. We had some turnovers, but I’ve never seen us play this good before. This is probably one of the best games I’ve seen Jellico play.”
Vaughn finished the game with 12 points, while recording three rebounds.
“She had an amazing performance,” Jackson said. “We’re still trying to work with her on her ball handling and her turnovers. She’s shows the leadership that she needs to show as a senior, and the girls are doing the best that they can. I can’t ask for anything more.”
Courtney Charles added 11 points and three steals, while Tasha Taylor finished the game with 10 and seven rebounds.
Sarah Prewitt added six points, as contributed four points.
McKenzie Charles added a total of eight rebounds to lead the team on boards.
“That’s huge. That’s the future of the program,” Jackson said of McKenzie Charles, who is just a freshman. “We have a lot of younger girls that are on the floor. We have McKenzie Charles, and we have Sarah Prewitt and Carla Beams, which are both sophomores. It’s very exciting to see my younger girls play the way they are.”
Courtney Charles had one of her biggest nights, according to Jackson.
The junior scored double digits scoring, while running to the trash can on numerous occasions during the game because of sickness.
“This is the best game that Courtney Charles has played all year,” Jackson said. “She’s just a junior, and we’ve got the rest of the season to go. I’m excited to see what we can do.
“Us coming in and playing Scott High, which is a bigger school with the district they’re in – Alcoa, CAK, Catholic, Kingston – they’re in a big district. For us to only lose by 17 and compete with them the way we did, I couldn’t be more pleased.”