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Players return to Jr. Lady Devil team

The 2019-20 Unicoi County Middle School Jr. Lady Devil varsity basketball team includes, pictured from left, back row, Abigail Vidrio, Allie Lingerfelt, Lilly Hopson, Noell Farnor, Madison Bowling and Ellie Shelton; front row, Katlyn Nelson, Faith Bennett, Ava English, Sara Thomas and Kaley Toney. (Erwin Record Staff Photo by Keeli Parkey)

From Staff Reports

For Unicoi County Middle School girls’ basketball coach Jenifer Lingerfelt, the secret to success lies in mastering the essentials.

“We’ll be reinforcing the basics this year,” she said during an interview with The Erwin Record. “We are doing a lot of drills that will help the girls to master the skills every player should possess.”

These include passing, dribbling, shooting, and jumping.

Lingerfelt knows what she’s talking about and leads a coaching staff that includes Emmie Thompson and Lisa Baxter, with Sharon Slagle serving as an advisor.

Lingerfelt’s team is rich in experience, with 25 of her 27 players returning this year. Her seasoned players will help to school her two new arrivals in what being a capable basketball player is all about.

Along with sports-specific training, Lingerfelt and other Unicoi County athletic instructors are working with county health officials to promote a whole-life approach to physical fitness. This philosophy fuses physical activity with proper nutrition, adequate hydration, and avoidance of harmful substances like alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs.

“We’re trying to build up the whole person,” Lingerfelt said. “Laying the foundation for a lifetime of good health.”

In the past, schools sometimes valued athletic ability over academic progress. Lingerfelt wants everyone to know that those days are in the past, as far as Unicoi County is concerned.

“Going forward, we’re going to monitor our player’s grades – making sure that they’re learning what they need to know,” she said.

The Jr. Lady Devil varsity squad has posted a record of 3-7 so far this season. The junior varsity team is 0-4.

The program includes Kaley Toney, Katlyn Nelson, Ava English, Allie Lingerfelt, Noell Farnor, Sara Thomas, Faith Bennett, Abigail Vidrio, Lilly Hopson, Ellie Shelton, Madison Bowling, Danika Hendricks, Marlee Cornett, Madlyn Huskins, Andrea Tucker, Bella Sams, Kinley Carver, Kaley Toney, Peyton Higgins, Briana Butler, Laney Rogers, Chloe Moore, Sadie Griffith, Ellie Hensley and Candy Scott.

UCMS is scheduled to travel to Hampton on Monday, Dec. 2 and host Happy Valley on Thursday, Dec. 5.