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Jellico’s Ward learns from her two-game suspension

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By Robby O'Daniel

Jellico’s Lilie Ward threw an open-handed smack at an Oneida player’s face during a scramble for a loose ball in a game earlier this season. The action earned Ward an immediate ejection and a two-game suspension.

But Ward learned from that moment.

“I realized that I probably shouldn’t have done it after I did it,” Ward said. “And it was just a reaction. It was an accident like I didn’t mean to hit her there, in the face. I didn’t mean to hit her at all. It was just a reaction of what had happened before.

“And I really let my team down for that because I was out for two district games. I was out for a Greenback game that was at our place, and I was out for a Cosby game.”

Ward apologized to the player she hit.

“I felt really bad, and I didn’t really mean to react like that,” Ward said. “… I went over there, and I shook her hand and told her I was sorry and that it was bad sportsmanship. And she apologized for getting rough with me, too, and that was it. We just walked away. She hugged me, and we left.”

Teammate Sarah Moses said Ward has “a heart of gold.”

“And she doesn’t mean to hurt anybody,” Moses said.

Lady Blue Devils head coach D.J. Osborn said both players got tied up on the play.

“They went to the floor, and when they went to the floor, I don’t think that Lilie’s initial reaction was I’ve got to push her off by the face,” Osborn said. “I think her initial reaction was push her off, and the hand just happened to hit her face. And so unfortunate circumstance for Lilie, of course, I’ve never had a problem out of Lilie reacting in any way that would be detrimental to her team.”

Ward had somewhat punished herself before Osborn had the chance to, he said.

“She was tore up about the whole thing, and after the game was over, she and I never had a conversation about the actual incident,” Osborn said. “In the locker room, I addressed the team. That’s not the way we want to operate. I know it was an accident, but that’s still not the picture that we’re trying to paint.

“And without being prompted personally, Lilie went over and apologized to that girl, checked on her, made sure she was OK. And to me, that made me as proud of her as anything she’s ever done on the floor.”