ECCC's Lilly laughs at adversity
March 11, 2001
Thought for the day: It's not how you handle life's successes that matters. It's how you deal with adversity that gains you respect from others.
The East Central Community College Lady Warriors were the cream of the crop in the Region 23 Tournament this past week, beating MACJC state champion Jones (93-78), nationally-ranked Copiah-Lincoln (74-71), and MACJC state runner-up Northwest Mississippi (91-71).
They'll take a 22-5 record to Salina, Kan., for the NJCAA Women's National Championship which begins March 20.
Few would have given the Lady Warriors any chance of winning the regional after losing Sasha Lilly for the rest of the season with a major knee injury against Coahoma in just the second game.
A 5-foot-9 sophomore from Columbiana, Ala., Lilly was considered at worst the second-best player on the ECCC team entering the season.
It would have been easy for Lilly to feel sorry for herself and bide her time until the year was over. Obviously, that's not her style.
While she was unable to lead the team on the court, Lilly still was the vocal leader on the sideline and did whatever she could in practice to make the squad better. She still dressed out for every game knowing she had no chance of playing.
As the knee got better, Lilly began to do more and more in practice. While she won't be medically cleared to play in the national tournament, you can bet she'll be doing all she can to keep the Lady Warriors' season alive.
Her leadership role wasn't overlooked by her teammates. When the Region 23 championship trophy was handed out Thursday night, her teammates stayed on the sideline while Lilly got her turn in the spotlight as she alone walked onto the court to receive the plaque from Region 23 women's director Katie Herrington.
It was a fitting tribute to a deserving athlete.
Marty Stamper is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at mstamper@ themeridianstar.com.