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Kingstree High School

Kingstree girls find stability under Haynes

By C.R. Cumbee

Staff Writer

Kingstree—There has been a lot of turnover at the top of the Kingstree girls’ basketball program in the last half-decade. Now the Jaguars hope they have some stability in second-year head coach Wendell Haynes.

The team opened the season with a one-point victory over area rival Lake City but dropped a two-point contest to C.E. Murray to even their record at 1-1 overall.

“Practice has been going smooth. I tell the girls we want to take one game at a time and continue to get stronger in January. I think we should finish at least third in the conference,” Haynes said.

Kingstree has a pair of returning starters this year in senior point guard/forward Kyerra Wright and junior center Atia McKnight. Both will need to have big seasons if the Jaguars expect to contend for a home playoff berth.

“Kyerra has been around the program since the seventh-grade. She’s a quiet leader. Atia is a vocal leader that plays from one end of the court to the other. I can play her on anybody,” Haynes said.

Joining them in the starting lineup is senior guard Gil’Briana Owens, sophomore guard Z’yasia Burgess and sophomore point guard Williashia Wilson.

Several other younger players rotate in as well, including junior guard Latoya Tisdale, sophomore guard Yasmine Gamble and freshman forward Ashanti Barr. Gamble hit the game-winning free throw with 3.4 seconds left in the team’s victory.

“I’m very encouraged with the younger players. When we started in March, the young girls were the ones out here working. They’ve been here every day, never missed a practice. They really want it,” Haynes said.

Also on the roster this year is sophomore guard Enyzeia Hudson, sophomore guard/forward Keyshaunna Houston and freshman forward Ja’Naysha Smith. Kailey Scott, a sophomore center, is currently out with an injury.

Being in a seven-team region, Kingstree will jump into conference play before Christmas break. The Jaguars host defending state champion Mullins Dec. 12 before welcoming Johnsonville to town Dec. 15. If they are to be competitive, it will come down to the intangibles.

“It’s all about effort, heart and pride. That’s it,” Haynes said.

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