Their final shot: Senior Lady Jags play their last season

After four seasons, over 100 games and three playoff appearances, six senior Lady Jags varsity basketball team members are playing their last high school season.

Seniors Ramyia Adams, Ashley Lester, Chat Lunceford, Jane Michael, Amber Williams and Ray Williams compiled a 10-15 win-loss record with a 6-7 region record in 2022-23. Lunceford leads the team in overall rebounds and Ray Williams leads the team in steals and deflections.

“It feels really weird. Ever since I started playing basketball it’s just been a huge part of my life because over the summer we have practice and then it starts early in the fall and goes throughout the beginning of the spring,” Michael said. “It’s so much that I’ve dedicated myself to and it’s just not going to be there anymore.”

Spending four years of hard work and practice with a team and coach means having complicated feelings about leaving. 

“I don’t know how to explain it, it’s a good and bad thing,” Ray Williams said. “I’m happy I got to play all four years of high school and I’m sad to let it go, but I’m ready to take the next step and move on to college.”

Head coach T. Wall has watched these seniors grow throughout the last four years. Her guidance on and off the court has led to noticeable improvement.

“They are a lot more vocal and trying to lead by example, holding the young group accountable but also holding themselves accountable,” Wall said. “Just because you’re a senior doesn’t mean you don’t have the same expectations.”

The 2022-23 season came with its challenges, but that hasn’t changed the goal and outlook of the team. The Region 8-4A expansion that will continue into the 2024 season from eight to 11 schools has added in many competitive teams like Walnut Grove and East Forsyth.

“There have been ups and downs, just like any season. You don’t know how a season is going to go until you get in it. Just building that chemistry and things like that. We started off a little rough but were turning things around,” Wall said. “The expectation is to always do well in the region and definitely make it to the playoffs and it’s not easy. We have one of the hardest regions.” 

Attending the Final Four in the 2020-21 season and making it to the playoffs every year since 2018 is helping the team keep their spirits high. The girls look forward to going to the playoffs yet again. 

“The season is going pretty well, we just have a little trouble dealing with adversity,” Ray Williams said. “I think we can do it, I think we can make it pretty far. I believe in my team.”

The community that the Cedar team has built is one every team looks for. Supporting one another on and off the court as well as celebrating individual improvements has helped the team build its culture.

IN PLAY: Senior Ray Williams runs with the ball down the court at the North Hall game on Dec. 13, 2022. Ray Williams has been playing basketball since seventh grade and has been with the Lady Jags all four years of high school. “My favorite memory would be this season when we played East Hall and I got this chase down block from this girl,” Ray Williams said. “Me being short I didn’t think I could, but it was really cool.” Photo by Kylie Toney.

“It’s a team sport and every individual person is valuable, so it’s just a special bond that you have with your teammates,” Michael said. “We always go out to eat before the Clarke Central game and spend time together which is fun. It’s just our little tradition.”

Whether it’s playing Division I or club, the love of basketball will follow many of the Lady Jags into college. Lester has gotten offers from Florida Southwestern State College and Antelope Valley University.

“Something about seeing the ball go through the hoop and playing the game, I just love it,” Lester said. “I am undecided right now for college but I’m going on a couple of visits and I’m going to make a decision soon.”

Joining the basketball team helped Ray Williams find her place, and she looks to find that community in college as well.

“Nobody really knew who I was when I came to high school and I felt like I was overlooked as a player, but now being a starter I feel like I really am making a footprint at Cedar,” Ray Williams said. “I am going to try to get on the team at Georgia Southern.”

Losing six seniors means that filling those shoes for next season will be a priority. After losing point guard Deshauna Foote last year and trying to fill her spot, Wall had to teach the girls how to adjust around major holes and will have to do so again next year.

“It’s hard to replace someone who’s been with you for four years. That’s kind of our biggest weakness right now,” Wall said. “Right now we have one junior, some sophomores and freshman, so next season is going to be another year where we’re trying to fill gaps. So we’ll make adjustments over the summer and off season.”

Wall is thankful for the time she was able to spend with the current group of seniors and looks forward to working with the next group of players.

“Hopefully the younger ones see what the seniors are doing and see what it’s gonna take,” Wall said. “One of our slogans is ‘always earned, never given,’ so if you want to earn it you have to work for it.”

Megan Wise

Graduate Megan Wise held two positions including Sports Editor and Co-Editor-in-Chief for her fourth year with Cedar BluePrints. She is majoring in business marketing/management in college and pursuing graphic design.

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