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Basketball season for Vina Red Devils – Class 1A, Area 14

GIRLS

Richie Hester has been the Vina head coach for a long time, but he’s never had the number of players he has entering this season. Hester said this is a testament to all the hard work and success his former players have put into the program.

“We are really excited to start this season,” said Hester, who has amassed a record of 100-66 the past six years at Vina. “We have had some really good players come through here in the past few years. The success they have had has been contagious and has led us to this point.”

One of Hester’s former stars is his own daughter, who is now helping him as an assistant, Abby Hester Ward.

“Abby brings a lot to the table these girls can learn from,” he said of the former scoring and assist leader.

Vina returns several experienced players. Senior Sara Scott returns with 822 career points and 999 career rebounds. She is a fiveyear varsity player. Kaitlyn Athey also returns with 401 career points, including 187 points this past season.

Other players who will be in the starting rotation for the Red Devils are senior guard Hailey Cantrell, junior guard Kassidie Gesler and freshman point guard Sara Harper.

Some key newcomers who will have to step up to bigger roles are junior Maddie Mills and sophomores Kay-Kay Mitchell, Kaley Attaway, Autumn Chandler, Jalyn Shotts and Keyara Umfress.

BOYS

Randy Barnes joins coaches at Tharptown and Red Bay in being thrust into a basketball job at the last minute. Despite the late hire, Barnes said he is optimistic his team can adjust and make strides.

“It was a quick turnaround,” said the Vina coach. “We haven’t had a lot of practice time together, but I know these kids. I helped coach football, so I know what they are capable of. It will be a challenge getting everything together so quickly.”

Barnes said he wants to build the program for the long term while also focusing on the present.

“I want to build long term and invest in our younger kids at the junior high level,” Barnes explained. “I believe stability is the key for these kids. They need to know who their coach is and who their coach is going to be. I want them to know I am going to be here and invest in them.”

Barnes said he is excited about his returning players – “We have two good juniors returning in Conner Davidson, who was the team’s leading scorer last year, and Nate Stidham” – and some old hands who have come back to the program – five seniors who are returning to the court after not playing the past couple of years.

“I want these guys to know my philosophy is to never quit and always work hard,” said Barnes. “I am a big believer that effort outworks talent. It might not happen every day, but it will happen more often than not.”

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VHS BOYS ROSTER

00– Christian Purser

1– Nate Stidham

2– Conner Davidson

4– Bryson Burney

5– Grayson Ridge

12– Braxton Borden

23– Trevor Baker

24– Alex Hargrett

33– Brody Washington

42– Kevin Corado

54– Cayden Lawler

55– Skylar Pettey

VHS GIRLS ROSTER

2– Kaitlyn Athey, Junior

5– Sara Harper, Freshman

10– Kaley Attaway, Sophomore

11– Abbie Petree, Senior

12– Mikayla Mitchell, Sophomore

13– Khylee Brooks, Freshman

14– Sara Scott, Senior

15– Maddie Mills, Junior

21– Jalyn Shotts, Sophomore

32– Autumn Chandler, Sophomore

33– Hailey Cantrell, Senior

35– Keyara Umfress, Sophomore

51– Kass Gesler, Junior

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