Johnson Central Lady Eagles hope to get back to Sweet Sixteen

PAINTSVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - Last years 15th Region Champions are going into the 2018-19 season like every other team.

"Just like everyone else, our goal is a district championship and a regional championship," said Head Coach Darrin Rice.

The Johnson Central Lady Eagles won the 15th region title for the first time since 2015 earning a trip to the state tournament.

"We won region and district both but at State, we fell short to Owensboro Catholic. But, hopefully, this year we can do the same thing," said Sophomore Sammi Sites.

This year, Johnson Central returns everyone but Jana Jarvis.

"We have four starters returning, plus Hannah Fitch is returning from injury. We have some experienced bench players in Tierra Montgomery and Farrah Montgomery and Faith Fairchild. I probably left a few but I hope I didn't leave anyone out," said coach Darrin Rice.

Last year, the Golden Eagles finished 20-13 getting off to a slow start losing 10 of their first 14 games.

"We started out pretty slow I am not going to lie. Our record wasn't that good but by tournament time we all came together," said Senior Ashlee Belcher.

"We were coming off the loss of several seniors and a lot of kids the year before hadn't played a ton of minutes for us. Jana Jarvis had just transferred in from Prestonsburg and the other girls were relativity new. They had played some varsity ball but relativity new. Hadn't started too many games," said Coach Rice.

While this year the team has more experience, they have also used the offseason to help the team get off to a better start.

"We have been coming in at 7 AM and practicing and working on agility and speed and all of that stuff," said Sammi Sites.

"This year we have started to have practice before and after school so we haven't stopped working hard. We always work hard," said Senior, Alania Castle.

The Johnson Central Lady Eagles open up the season ranked No. 2 in the girls' Alice Lloyd College Mountain Top 10.

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