Family Atmosphere Key To Hornets' Success; Focused On Semifinal Against Davie Nova
Fri. February 22, 2013 at 2:00 a.m. | By Aimee Sachs
Haines City Jasmyn Brown (22) and Jadeshia Johnson (3) celebrate in the final seconds of the regional semis against Bartow. (Photo by PIERRE DUCHARME | THE LEDGER)
By AIMEE SACHS
HAINES CITY | The Haines City girls basketball team is like a family, and that's the way coach LaDreda Akins likes it.
"I think that helps us out," she said. "It all boils down to the fact that they have pride in their school, they have pride in their team. They have a love for their team. They have a lot of respect for each other. They're dedicated. They sacrifice themselves."
They sacrifice the use of social media, which is forbidden, and cellphones are not allowed in practice or on game days. It helps the Hornets stay focused.
"Somebody can send me a message and it's bad news, and it takes my mind out of the game," sophomore Jasmyn Brown said. "So if I don't have a phone, I don't get bad news. It helped."
Brown is one of four Haines City players averaging in double figures this year. She and Ja'Deshia Johnson both average 14 points and 12 rebounds a game, wile Jone' Akins and Shavonne Holton both average 10 points a game.
After taking a 50-46 loss to Sebastian River in Class 7A state championship game, the Hornets have worked their way back to the state finals with a tough schedule. A big highlight for Haines City was a 40-35 victory over IMG Academy on Nov. 17. The Hornets played Bartow three times and beat them in each meeting by a margin of seven points or less, including a 42-41 win on Dec. 13.
Haines City brings a 26-4 record into today's Class 7A state semifinal game against Davie Nova (18-7).
"I think they are similar to us if I'm not mistaken, Akins said. "They like to press. I know they like to run. They have good shooters."
Haines City, she said, will have to stick to the game they've been playing all year.
"If we do get out of synch, we'll have to be able to find our way back," she said.
Last year's trip to The Lakeland Center was a learning experience for Brown, who was just a freshman.
"I think it was fatigue, and we got tired," Brown said. "It's not that we didn't know what to do. We couldn't push anymore."
This year, Brown has accepted a leadership role and goes into today's game more experienced and focused, imparting wisdom to her younger teammates.