• 36°
franklin county times

Vina senior looks forward to final basketball season

Mary Morgan Clingan is a defensive force on the Vina Red Devils girls basketball team. As her senior year approaches, Clingan said she is eager for a final basketball season with her teammates.
Mary Morgan Clingan is a defensive force on the Vina Red Devils girls basketball team. As her senior year approaches, Clingan said she is eager for a final basketball season with her teammates.

As the only senior of the Vina Lady Red Devils girls basketball team, Mary Morgan Clingan is facing the excitement and challenges that senior year always supplies.

“What you choose now determines your future later. It’s very nerve-wracking,” Clingan said. With goals that range from being a role model to making grades worthy of her dentistry dreams – dentistry cemented itself as a career goal after her job shadowing experience with Junior Leadership – Clingan is nevertheless determined to excel on the court this year, with big ambitions for her final season of basketball.

She’s played the sport since Little League.

“I’m competitive, and I don’t like to do things by myself. As a team it’s a lot easier,” Clingan said. “I love being competitive. I love to win.”

Although she’s going to miss the game, Clingan said she decided not to pursue playing in college, opting instead to focus on her academic career – either at Northwest-Shoals Community College, or possibly at Itawamba Community College if she decides to try out for cheer, and ultimately at UAB. But there’s still a season of games remaining with her Lady Red Devils, and Clingan has some specific parameters for putting a successful season in the books: she wants to win at least 15 games and come out on top in the Franklin County Tournament.

“We almost won ten games last year, and I feel like we have improved tremendously,” Clingan said.

Drills will begin officially following high school football season, but Clingan said the dedicated Lady Red Devils will often meet up on their own initiative to shoot and practice. When Clingan talks about Vina’s strengths as a team, she uplifts her teammates first: Abby Hester, Kaitlyn King and Emma Humphres’ shooting – “I didn’t know they could improve as much as they have. They can shoot a lot better now” – and Gracie Raper’s determination to excel – “She shoots so many shots a day. She is really working hard … She sends me videos of trick shots … She amazes me how good she is going to be.” She also gives credit to Coach Richie Hester, who, Clingan said, has changed the whole atmosphere of the team, inspiring in the Lady Red Devils greater drive and ambition.

For her own part, Clingan recognizes her strength on defense, stopping the ball on the court. Goals for this year include a continued focus on her dribbling and shooting.

Hester said Clingan is “always doing her part, if it is setting a trap on the press or setting a pick and roll on defense.”

“Mary is one of our top rebounders and shot blockers,” Hester said. “But most of all what Mary gives to the team is a great attitude and her leadership ability. We have a young team, and being able to pick one another up is very important. Mary’s leadership will carry her far in life.”

In her senior year, Clingan wants to see improved school spirit and support of Red Devil athletes from the student cheering section. “Everybody’s like, ‘We’re never going to win anything,’ but I feel like we could this year. If the cheerleaders get together, and we get together and bring the spirit, it could be a really good year.”

Clingan has been at Vina since kindergarten, and her favorite thing about the school is its teachers – like Jessica Hamilton.

“I cannot explain has much she has helped me with my college classes. She has worked her tail off. She is a blessing,” Clingan said.

Although being the only senior on the girls basketball team is sometimes lonely – “I’m the oldest one. Nobody leaves class with me to go change for games” – Clingan said she’s become incredibly close with her teammates.

“Even though they are younger, they don’t act younger,” Clingan said. “I can’t express how much like sisters we are. I don’t think any other team is as close as we are.”

Franklin County

RHS graduate crowned Miss Northwest Shoals

Franklin County

RHS graduate crowned Miss UNA

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: In memoriam – Monuments honor the fallen of Franklin

High School Sports

RHS senior chosen as Bryant-Jordan Region 8 Scholar winner

High School Sports

Russellville High School ladies soccer team members participate in annual Night to Shine

News

Russellville High School Scholars Bowl team qualifies for state tournament

News

Vina kindergarteners connect with lots of other classes

News

PCHS JAG student places in district conference

Features

Wedding Spotlight: Layne and Frank Edwards

Franklin County

RHS senior competes at state DYW competition

News

Extension, 4-H present free resume workshop

Franklin County

Franklin County has lots to love

High School Sports

Russellville High School honors alum Luther Tiggs with special night of basketball

News

BTCPA announces second production of season

News

RMS holds annual state assessment celebration

Franklin County

Red Bay welcomes new city attorney

Franklin County

Attempted traffic stop leads to high-speed vehicle pursuit, wreck 

Franklin County

Vehicle pursuit ends in wreck, arrest 

News

RFD, RHS collab promotes job readiness, community safety

Franklin County

Local students named to Mississippi State University’s fall 2023 President’s List

News

Russellville Elementary features among U.S. News & World Report best elementary schools

News

RCS receives recognition as finalist for national award

News

Plans get underway to raise funds for cancer research in memory of Bedfords

Franklin County

PHOTOS: Freezing temperatures make way for fun

x