HomeSportsLady Bruins glad to add championship to program’s legacy

Lady Bruins glad to add championship to program’s legacy

By Brandon Shields

Managing editor

Ava Barham is about to graduate from University School of Jackson and played her final game in red and Columbia blue on Saturday when USJ won its first state championship.

Ellen Driver is a junior.

Lilly Teague is a freshman.

All three Lady Bruins have been at USJ since they started their educational journeys. They all were big fans of Anna Jones and Emily Jones and the rest of the Lady Bruins who played for a state championship in 2017.

They’ve heard stories about players like Katie Brush when USJ made its way to its first title game in 2005.

But they actually played on the first USJ girls’ basketball team to return to Jackson and Madison County with a gold ball trophy.

“It’s great to be able to know we made history today and to be a part of that history,” Driver said.

For Barham, who managed to get through the season in spite of a tear in her labrum, she’s glad to go out a winner.

“This was my last season, and there’s no other way I’d want to end it – or any season,” Barham said.

She had a hard time scoring as she finished with four points. But she made her presence known under the basket with 17 rebounds including six on the offensive end.

“I remember watching those players in 17 and being a big fan of them, looking up to them,” Teague said. “They’re part of the history for this program and gave us something to shoot for in trying to be as good as them.”

USJ’s head coach, Joel Ayers – who just finished up his third season leading the program, said he’s appreciative of the foundation laid by those who’ve come through the USJ in the past.

“There were a lot of those past players in the stands today watching us because they love USJ and still come back,” Ayers said. “And the message for Ava as she’s leaving is the same for them: Just because you’ve graduated doesn’t mean you’re done being a Lady Bruin.

“We want to keep seeing them and want them to be a part of our program and our family.”

Brandon Shields,

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