Collins leads All-Area team

Published 5:00 am Monday, April 7, 2003

HAZLEHURST – Senior guard Aiesha Collins of the Hazlehurst LadyIndians knows how to shoot the ball. It’s in her blood. Her motheris the Lady Indians’ head girls basketball coach Freda Craft whoexcelled as one of Hazlehurst’s top players of the 1970’s.

Collins averaged 13 points, 8.5 rebounds and 4.4 assists duringthe 2002-03 season for Craft and the Lady Indians. She shot 71percent from the free throw line.

For her accomplishments, Collins has been selected as the MostValuable Player and Miss Basketball on The Daily Leader’s2003 All Area Girls Basketball team.

Other players named to the All-Area Team were LaQuita Ard ofNorth Pike, Brittany Peyton of Lawrence County, Carley Clayton ofCopiah Academy and Ashley Weathersby of Franklin County.

The dream team, composed of players outside of Lincoln County,was selected by the Leader’s sports staff, with inputprovided by high school and college coaches.

“I’m so excited,” said Collins who added she will miss herteammates. “We’re so close like a family”.

Collins feels her strong points as a player are her passing anddefense.

“She listens,” smiled Craft. “She plays her role. It’s been apleasure coaching her. Hopefully, I’ve helped her develop into atotal player.”

Collins plans to sign with the Co-Lin Lady Wolves basketballteam. She is currently undecided on a major. She will join formerteammate Victoria Richardson who will be a sophomore nextseason.

“I want to thank my coach, my principal Mr. Henry Dorsey and thefans who came out to the games,” added Collins.

Collins and Craft will be together one more time on July 17 atMississippi College in the Mississippi Association of Coaches Northvs. South Girls All-Star game. Craft with coach the South girlsteam and Collins will play.

LaQuita Ard (5-8, jr.) was one of the top twoscorers for the North Pike Lady Jaguars this season. The Division7-3A champ Lady Jaguars were powered by Ard who averaged 23 pointsand 17 rebounds a game. She was also named to the MAC Class 3AAll-State team.

“She has the burning desire to be successful,” said North Pikegirls basketball coach John P. Stephens. “She’ll give you everyounce of effort she has.”

Brittany Peyton (5-5, sr.) was a guard forCoach Archie Ross’ Lawrence County Lady Cougars. Peyton averaged13.78 points a game for the 23-7 Lady Cougars. She played the No. 3spot.

“She is a real good basketball player,” said Lawrence Countygirls coach Archie Ross. “She plays hard. She is good on offenseand defense. She came to play every night. We will miss her nextyear. It will be hard to replace her. If she could get intocollege, she could be good. She could be an impact players. Shewould be great.”

Carley Clayton (5-4, jr.) is the shooting guardfor the 25-8 Copiah Academy Lady Colonels. Clayton averaged 16points and 5 rebounds a game. Her older sister, Candice, wasselected to last year’s dream team.

“Carley plays harder than any girl I’ve ever coached,” saidCopiah Academy girls coach Mitch Mitchell. “She can’t stand it forany girl to get the better of her. She covers the best player onthe other team. She works real hard. She spends a lot of time inthe gym.”

Ashley Weathersby (5-7, soph.) dominated thebackboards for Franklin County. She averaged 14.5 rebounds, 9.5points and 3.1 steals per game for the Lady Bulldogs.

Franklin County coach Charles Moore said Weathersby gives 100percent in every game. “Ashley leaves everything on the court.She’ll give you what she’s got in every game.”