BASKETBALL: Jerriale Jackson continues LFO pipeline to GNTC

LFO graduate Jerriale Jackson (seated, second from right) signed her letter of intent on Thursday, June 7 to play basketball for Georgia Northwestern Technical College. Also on hand for the ceremony was (front row, from left) Jerrian Jackson, Anita Rucker and Jerry Jackson. On the back row was GNTC head coach David Stephenson, LFO assistant coaches Matt Culbreth and Krista Davis, Athena Coats, Zaryus Coats, Alex Stallion, LFO assistant coach Keri Miller and LFO head coach Dewayne Watkins. (Photo by Scott Herpst)

There is no truth to the rumor that the Georgia Northwestern Lady Bobcats will change colors from navy blue and silver to red and white next season, but their 2018 signing class is beginning to take on a decidedly LFO-ish hue.

Head coach David Stephenson signed his third player from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe this season on Thursday, June 7 as the athletic Jerriale Jackson cast her lot with the Lady Bobcats surrounded by friends and family during a ceremony at the high school.

Jackson, a multi-sport star for the Lady Warriors, said that she was excited to get play ball at the college level.

“It means I get to further my education, plus I still get the ability to play basketball,” she explained. “I’m happy to get to go on to the next level. I knew I wasn’t ready to leave home and I know I wasn’t ready to give up basketball.

“I ran track and I played volleyball (in high school), but basketball is my sport. I have a passion for those other sports too, but as I got closer to the end of the school year, I just knew (basketball) was the one sport I wasn’t ready to give up.”

LFO head coach Dewayne Watkins said Georgia Northwestern was getting a great player and a great person in Jackson, who started for the Lady Warriors for three seasons.

“She’s played whatever role we needed her to play,” Watkins said. “She’s done so many other things for us, like rebound, play defense on the other team’s best player, handle the ball and push the tempo. She can do everything, but one of the things she wants to do is work on her offensive skills. She has the capability (to be a good offensive player) and I think she’ll be a great fit.

“Plus, she’s an awesome leader. She graduated with honors, so she’s great in the classroom and she’s a great teammate. She’s been a captain for us the last three years as well, so Coach Stephenson is getting a good one.”

Stephenson said Jackson’s athletic gifts immediately stood out when watching her play.

“We’re getting another athletic person, who like (recent GNTC signee) Lyric (Curtis), can play multiple spots for us on the floor and help us on the press,” he explained. “We really want to press more this year than we ever have. We haven’t been able to do it as much (in recent years) because of athleticism and numbers, but I think we’re going to have more of both this year.

“Playing at LFO, I think she just had so much talent around her that she had to take a back seat sometimes, offensively. However, I don’t see her having to do that with us.”

While Jackson is eyeing more offensive possessions with the ball in her hands, she said she plans on bringing her usual hustle and aggressive style on the defensive end to GNTC.

“I’m going to bring a lot of energy and I’m going to try to give it my all,” she added. “I just don’t give up, so I’m just going to keep pushing myself.”

Jackson joins Kay Kay Berotte and Gracen Hobbs as Lady Bobcat signees from LFO’s 2018 senior class.

“If the kids that come and play here want to go on to college and play, my goal as a coach is to find them an opportunity and Georgia Northwestern has been great,” Watkins added. “We’ve had several players go there and this is probably the best group we’ve ever sent them. There are some players that can score and all of them can defend. I think they’re going to be a part of something special there.”

Jackson said she is considering biology as a major.