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Young recruiting talent for Co-Lin

“Hey, Tom. I’m going to sign (fill in name) to a scholarshiptoday. I’ll pick you up at 11:30 and we can ride out to the schooltogether.”

His voice was familiar and he needed no introduction.

Gwyn Young, Copiah-Lincoln Community College women’s basketballcoach, has been scheduling scholarship-signing photo assignmentsfor over 25 years. On countless occasions, I’ve been a passenger inhis vehicle.

On Wednesday, we photographed Lauren Smith at West Lincoln andJordan Britt at Loyd Star. They’ll use their considerablebasketball talents to help the Co-Lin Lady Wolves become titlecontenders next season.

It was a beautiful, sunny day. Parents smiled. Coaches andplayers grinned. It was a proud moment in their athleticcareers.

Over the years, Young has constructed a formidable basketballprogram, winning numerous South Division, state and regionaltitles. That high level of success has made the Lady Wolves primetargets of every opponent. Beat Co-Lin on the basketball floor andthat’s worth bragging about.

This past season, the Lady Wolves absorbed more than their shareof setbacks. For a change, the men’s program, coached by DennisSims, was much more successful. The Wolves fell just short ofwinning the state tournament in Mullen Gymnasium.

Young, in his 29th year as Co-Lin’s coach, had to endure a lotof disappointments. No, those defeats didn’t roll like water off aduck’s back. They stung.

So, the priority is signing talented high school players toscholarships. Certainly, Young has assembled a flock of promisingplayers. He could have as many as 20 battling for a berth on a15-member roster next fall.

“I made up my mind to sign plenty of guards,” said Young. “Wewere short of guards last season.”

According to Young, he has shooters and ball-handlers aplenty.They’ll follow a regimented summer program of conditioning andweight lifting. When the first day of school arrives in August, thebasketball ladies will be in strong physical shape. When practicebegins, it will be a war on the hardwood.

Besides Smith and Britt, Young has signed Alicia Kennedy of WestLincoln, Ronesha Garner of Lawrence County, Corissa Tillman andDominique Whitfield of Crystal Springs, Rededra Smith and AngelicaBurgess of Mendenhall, Angellica Williams of Whitecastle, La., andWhitney Scott of Hahnville, La. He may sign one moreout-of-stater.

Whitfield, able to run the floor and leap like a deer, is thetallest recruit at 5-11. Scott is next at 5-9.

Among the returning sophomores will be 6-foot post playersKristian McCray and Anna Autman of Brookhaven. Ashley Murphy ofRaymond (Central Hinds) returns at guard, along with JenniferCarter of Magee and forward Laquita Ard of North Pike.

Daughters follow moms to Co-Lin

Talk about growing old. Two of Coach Young’s recent signees arefollowing in their mothers’ footsteps. West Lincoln signee AliciaKennedy was signed by Young last week. Her mother, Stephany CaseLofton, was signed by Young some 20 years ago.

It’s the same scenario at Loyd Star. Guard Jordan Britt signedwith the Lady Wolves yesterday. Her mother and coach, Lori SartinBritt, played for Young after a standout career at Loyd Star.

All-Star notes: The North Division teams sweptthe MACJC State Basketball Tournament in February and they alsodominated the All-Star Games which were played last Saturday atChoctaw Central in Philadelphia.

Northwest guard Joemal Campbell paced the North to a 129-99victory, scoring 32 points and earning MVP honors. The South teamwas led by Co-Lin guard Ledell Eackles who pumped in 20 points.D.J. Jones of Southwest added 11.

In the women’s game, Holmes guard Ashley Howard scored 17 pointsas the North whipped the South 87-58. Nikita Taylor of Northwestadded 15 points and shared MVP honors with Howard.

Co-Lin forward Travalyn Smith scored 12 points for theSouth.

Baseball Hall of Fame: The Crossroads DiamondClub will induct six new members to its Baseball Coaches Hall ofFame, including Tony Davis of Lawrence County. Theceremony will take place during the All-Star Baseball Game atTrustmark Park in Pearl.

Other inductees are former coach SteveTomaszewski of Ocean Springs, Doug Sproatof Jackson as an umpire, Tommy Autrey of McCluerAcademy and Jim Hill, Northwest Rankin supporter DanJohnson and former Callaway statistician and Jackson Metsofficial scorer Doyle Jones.

Write to sports editor Tom Goetz, c/o The DAILY LEADER, P.O.BOX 551, Brookhaven, MS, 39602 or e-mailsports@dailyleader.com