By Les Dixon
It’s been a season to remember for the Lynn Camp Lady Wildcat basketball program. The Lady Wildcats are currently 23-8 on the season, which is a program-best and clinched a spot in the 51st District title game along with a berth into the 13th Region Tournament for the third time in five years on Wednesday after upending rival Knox Central in overtime, 67-59.
But now the awards are starting to come in and coach Richard Jones, who is in his 21st season as the Lady Wildcats coach, is beginning to reap the benefits of leading his team to the record-breaking season by being named both the KABC 13th Region Coach of the Year along with the 13th Region Coaches Association Coach of the Year award.
“This is really a big honor,” Jones said. “I’m not big into individual awards, but this does mean a lot to me. Our coaches and players have put in a lot of hard work to get this program to this level and everyone deserves this. I’ll say this, too — I’ve got the best coaching staff in the region in Bruce Coulter, who has helped me 17 years, Terry Jones and Mike Hensley.
“I don’t think the awards are so much what we have done this year, but maybe on what these coaches have done with this program over the years,” he added. “The last couple of years we’ve had to rebuild a bit, but to reach the 13th Region Tournament three out of the past five years is really big.”
Jones is hoping his Lady Wildcats’ success will carry over into today’s game in the 51st District title game against Barbourville.
“It’s nice to win these type of awards, but I really want us to win the district championship,” he admitted. “A lot of coaches have done a great job with their teams this year. At the beginning of the year we were a one-dimensional team with Kayla (Smith) and Heather (Wilson) doing the bulk of the work for us, but now players like Jessica may, Merita Burke and Brianna Hollin have stepped up, too.
“It’s nice to get these awards, but we still have a lot of work to do,” he added.