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franklin county times
CONTRIBUTED

Vina keeps courts hot to make summer count

High school basketball won’t tip off until late fall, but like student athletes across the board, Vina High School basketball girls have been using the summer months to condition and practice for another season.

Coach Richie Hester said his team competed in 30 games over a three-week period, notching 20 wins in summer action.

“Vina varsity girls play a lot of basketball in June, and the girls got tired several times, but they never quit,” Hester said.

In the 2016-2017 season, Vina varsity girls basketball won 22 games – the most in 23 years.

For 2017-2018, the team has three prolific three point shooters in Abby Hester, Kaitlyn King and Emma Humphres, Hester said. “These three made the AHSAA Record Book last season, hitting 225 three pointers.”

Vina has added, Hester said, “two extremely good young players in eighth-graders Rayleigh Guin and Sara Scott. Rayleigh adds another scoring threat, being able to shoot from any range. Sara gives Vina some much-needed muscle inside on the boards.

“Along with Scooter Johnson and all of her athleticism, Vina should be a threat next season, with a little luck, to go very deep in the playoffs.”

In the first week of summer competition, Vina picked up a win over 2A Phil Campbell and then traveled to Jasper for a two-day camp, Hester said. At Jasper, the Lady Red Devils lost to 6A Parker and 5A Anniston but picked up wins over 6A Brookwood and 6A Walker County.

The next week Vina traveled to Tuscaloosa for another two-day camp, amassing losses to 6A Northview and Chelsea, 4A Priceville and 3A Prattville Christian. The Lady Red Devils “picked up narrow victories over 3A Sumter Central and 2A Ashbury,” Hester said, and picked up another win over 6A Brookwood – but lost at the buzzer to 3A Priceville Christian.

In action versus 1A Marion County, Hubbertville and Hackleburg, the Lady Red Devils won all three games by 20 or more points, Hester said.

“This team has shown as much heart as any team I have ever coached,” Hester said. “If these girls continue to improve like they have this summer, any goal is reachable.”

Vina added wins against 2A Sheffield, 1A Tharptown and 1A Belgreen during games on the home court to round out the second week of basketball action.

In the third and final week, the Lady Red Devils traveled to Double Springs Monday and defeated 2A Winston County and 3A Elkmont, Hester said. A loss came against 4A powerhouse Danville.

Tuesday Vina was back at home, picking up wins against 1A Brilliant and 1A Tharptown.

Vina picked up “one of their biggest wins of the summer,” Hester said, in the final week, defeating the 2A Red Bay Lady Tigers 55-46.

Thursday Vina defeated West Point and 1A Lindsay Lane before a narrow loss to 2A Hatton at Russellville. Friday at home in front of a good crowd, the Lady Red Devils defeated a 3A Nettleton, Miss., team before losing a heartbreaker to Tishomingo County.

“Each weekday for the last month we practiced or played two, three and sometimes four ballgames in a day,” Hester said. “The girls never gave up; they refused to quit – a sign of a true champion.”

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