Lady Tigers ready to get back on the field

Northeast logoBy David Wheeler

Special to the Journal

Trying to stick to your schedule should not be so hard.

That is why Northeast Community College Lady Tigers head coach Jody Long is looking forward to today.

Long and his Lady Tigers should be set for host their North Division opener, a doubleheader, set to begin at 1 p.m. That is barring rain, snow, or even fire.

“We have not played one game as scheduled yet,” said Long, whose Lady Tigers are 3-8 on the young season. “There are several teams with an opportunity to win the North, and this game will give us an opportunity to find out where we are.”

That game today just happens to be against area rival Itawamba, a matchup originally scheduled for March 1. But playing ICC might be the easy part of the formula for the Lady Tigers.

Bus fire

Within the last 15 days, the Lady Tigers have had to postpone two division doubleheaders, and even saw their bus burn, with all of their equipment on board, on Feb. 26.

“We were very blessed to get everyone off the bus,” Long said. “We were coming home from our first sweep of the season against Southwest (Tenn.) when we had a blowout.

“Real quickly, we realized it was a serious situation.”

The flat tire occurred just outside of Walnut on U.S. Hwy 72 on the way to Corinth, and whipped by wind that was also blowing sleet, a fire quickly engulfed the Northeast bus. Some recounts say as quickly as six minutes from spotting the flames.

“We lost all of our equipment, including both sets of brand new uniforms,” Long said. “Some kids made it off the bus in their bare feet.”

Long reports that donations have been coming in from local high schools, and even the University of Central Arkansas.

Now the Lady Tigers try to begin the 2014 season anew, having entered the spring schedule with only two sophomores with playing experience from last season’s 23-15-1 playoff team – Bianca Chagolia from Calif., and Haleigh Moffett from West Lauderdale.

Freshmen Yasmeen Cooper and Avery Springer from Houston, Haley Christian from Corinth, Chelsea Buntin from Alcorn Central, Bre Agnew from Booneville, Shannon Goode from New Albany, and Trenisha King are some of the new main contributors.

“Most of the time, we have started seven freshmen,” Long said. “This has definitely been a growing experience.”

The Itawamba doubleheader will be the Lady Tigers first game against a Mississippi team, having played team from six different states so far.