Lady Junior Cyclones take aim on first regional championship

By Travis Brown

STAR STAFF
tbrown@starhq.com

   With a string of impressive victories and tournament wins, the T. A. Dugger Lady Cyclones are poised to do something no other Jr. Cyclone team has accomplished: win a region title.
   With history in the making, the tight-knit group of eighth graders and solid quartet of seventh graders are anxiously awaiting today's championship matchup at John Sevier Middle School in Kingsport.
   On the other side of the floor rests a talented Greeneville team that remains undefeated on the season.
   Despite the high-caliber opponent, head coach Angie Barker believes her team is well prepared for the task ahead.
   "They are ready to go," Barker said. "Everybody is excited."
   The success of this year's team could be attributed to the continuity the team has enjoyed. Most of the players on the squad have played together for a full two years, and have participated in two separate summer camps (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Middle Tennessee State University).
   Barker had much to say about the makeup of her team, citing strengths in almost every department.
   "We're really balanced," Barker said. "We have good shooters, solid rebounders and good size."
   At the beginning of this season, good things were expected of the team. However, all expectations will be surpassed with a victory over Greenville tonight.
   "I honestly think we should not get beat," Barker said. "Unless we beat ourselves with mistakes."
   Without a doubt the Jr. Cyclones have many strengths, but as the old adage says, the chain is only as strong as its weakest link -- and the Lady 'Clones have plenty of strong links.
   "We have 11 players, we could win most of our games playing all of them," Barker said. "We've had a strong team effort."
   With all of the emphasis on team play, Barker feels that although she has standout players, the true strength of the Jr. Cyclones lies in the unity and unselfish team play.
   "Everybody has worked well, and everybody deserves the recognition. We play like a team," Barker said. "That's what makes us good."
   Carter County has seen its share of solid girls basketball. Despite the solid crop of athletes, EHS has yet to reach the full potential that its program could reach.
   This group of young ladies may very well have the capability to change that.
   With the hopes of a community behind them, and the dreams of a championship still ahead Barker believes this team has yet to reach its potential."
   "We have incredible heart," Barker said. "Everyone comes ready to play during practice and the games. They are capable of doing it. If we control their shooters, and the speed of the game, we can win."
   Tip-Off is set for 4:30 p.m.