Lady Eagles Striving for Excellence

The Lady Eagles Basketball team went up against stiff competition this week at MTSU. -- (Photo: Gary Bolden)

Rhea County Lady Eagles Basketball Striving for Excellence

June 20, 2014
Mufreesboro, TN — Rhea County High School Lady Eagles Basketball Team has been working hard this off season as they look to fill the gaps left by departing Seniors and integrate rising players from Middle Schools.  The Lady Eagles recently completed their camp season at Middle Tennessee State Camp on Friday.  The team had split up on Monday and played at Tennessee Tech and Hixson High School and then traveled to Mufreesboro on Wednesday.  The MTSU camp was the last of the camps that the Lady Eagles would attend this summer. This camp historically has a very talented field of participants and this year was no exception.  During the week the Lady Eagles played three teams who finished last year in the top 10 in the State.

After losing two key members of his squad from last year, Coach Johnston was looking to mold this mixture of new and old into the team that would take the practice floor in the fall and give the Lady Eagles another successful season. Two key starers who are gone and not forgotten are Julie Brown and Kelsey Miles. Julie not only provided great outside shooting but did great work inside. Kelsey was an experienced point guard who pushed the ball up the court and got to the rim.

For three days the Lady Eagles split into three squads, Freshman, Junior Varsity and Varsity. Each team played several games daily. There is no doubt that the Lady Eagles gained great experience during this three day camp. The Varsity team went up against some of the best talent in the state.

I saw a lot of younger players getting invaluable experience against very tough competition. Coach Johnston, Baird and Keener were working hard to teach the girls. I think this camp will be very beneficial for the Lady Eagles.

This camp success will not be measured in wins and losses but in experience and knowledge.  Just looking at the resumes of the teams the Lady Eagles played is amazing.  Riverdale has 4 state championships since 2007.  Oakland has multiple state championships and is loaded again this year.  Elizabethton is the AA 2014 State Champion and has two tremendous players back.  Science Hill historically wins 30 games a year and lost one game this year, just short of State Championship.  Clarkrange and Bearden are also very good programs.  Clarkrange will be in the Christmas Tournament at RCHS this year and the Lady Eagles travel to play Riverdale on November 15th.

Coach Johnston and his staff are working hard to keep the program improving.

Coach Shane Johnston had some reflections on the camp experience over the last few weeks.

“Overall we had a good week at Tennessee Tech and MTSU because we were able to play high quality teams that helped us get better. We didn’t win them all but the time was well spent getting kids ready for what they are going to see every Tuesday and Friday for four months this coming winter.”

“Our seniors have started stepping up into new roles and I am proud of them. We have been through a lot over the last few years both on, and off, the floor. In the weeks ahead, I have challenged them to move from encouragers to leaders that can set the appropriate tone for our program.”

“I’m proud of our kids for their work over the last few weeks. It’s a process and we must continue to get better each day.”

At the end, Coach Johnston added one last summary thought:

“This is the best camp schedule we have had.  We have come to MTSU and Tennessee Tech the last couple of years and left winning more games than we won this week, but didn’t see the same level of competition that we played against this week.  We played Riverdale, Oakland, Elizabethton, Clarkrange, Bearden, and Science Hill.  Each of those teams are well respected and have high expectations going into the 2014-2015 season.  We are better because they helped show our weaknesses.”

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Coach Johnston has 5 seniors coming back this year.

Amber Levi – 34
Shelby Thurman – 21
Kenzie Freeman – 11
Micayla Keen – 32
Megan Revis – 3


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3 Juniors return from last year:

Molly Morgan – 42
Chloe Messimer – 2
Jessee Wallis – 14


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7 Sophomores are returning:

Faith Davis – 1
MaKayla Bustos – 13
Emma Ruth Keylon – 23
Lauren Clark – 30
Hope Baker – 20
Hollie Brown – 45
Olivia Rekoske – 22


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9th Graders moving up from Middle School:

Ashton Cameron – 00
Yuri Lopez – 25
Allison Sekura – 4
Caity Blevins – 10
Kaitlyn Osterbur – 40
Madison Martin – 24
Brooke Hedgecoth
Emily Smith – 33
Micah Black – 15


I have included several pages of pictures from the camp.  To see more pics go to next page.  There are 93 pictures in all.  — Gary Bolden

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