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JEHS ladies face difficult test

Fentress Means knows his girls face a difficult challenge tonight when they take on a once-blemished Sunshine squad in an area contest that will break a first-place tie.

“They’re 6-1. They’ve played a Francis Marion team that is pretty good,” Means said of the only team to defeat Sunshine thus far. “We’ve just got to go in (tonight) with our heads on straight.”

Means is confident his team will be able to lean upon what it has learned from its own tough early-season slate.

Included among the girls’ opponents thus far have been Aliceville, Greene County and Marengo.

“Those teams had some pretty good girls on them,” Means said before turning his attention to his squad’s next challenge. “But I understand that (Sunshine standout junior) Shafontaye Myers isn’t your normal 1A ball player.”

The girls also hope to benefit from some of their other experiences, such as the lesson they learned in resiliency when it bounced back after a 40-point loss against Marengo to defeat Linden in key area game the next night.

“We learned that if we do lose, we’ve got to put that behind us because we’ve got another big game coming up,” senior Amelia Hackworth said.

The Linden win seemed to boost the team’s confidence level as it prepared for its coming challenge.

“We felt like we worked together,” junior Jamie Johnson said.

Hackworth also said the girls have ramped up their efforts during practice this week.

“We’ve talked about putting forth more effort during practice so we can come back and put forth maximum effort in our games,” she said.

Means said his girls will need to avoid some of their previous mistakes in order to hang with Sunshine.

“We’ve got to go in, take care of the ball and play sound defense,” Means said. “I believe in our girls.”

Whatever happens in Newbern, Means knows his team must immediately shift its focus to Sweet Water.

“We’re just going to go out, play our game and play hard-nosed defense,” Means said. “It’s an area game and we want to win it. Hopefully after this weekend, we’ll be 4-0 (in the area). That’d be huge for us going into the holiday season.