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Watson picked for N-S all-star honor

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By Robert Howey

No matter how the Buford High School volleyball team fares this season, Lady Jackets’ veteran coach Janet Watson will be coaching deep into the fall.

Watson, entering her sixth season at Buford High School, has been selected to serve as a coach in the annual North-South All-Star volleyball match at Lander University.“I’m excited and I’m looking forward to it,” Watson said. “Anytime you have a chance to represent your school in an all-star game, it’s an honor.”The all-star match is set for Nov. 22, with Watson and the rest of the North all-stars to report for the event on Nov. 20.Watson, an eight-year volleyball coaching veteran, worked two seasons as the BHS junior varsity volleyball coach before moving up to the varsity.Prior to coming to Buford High School, Watson served one season as the volleyball coach at J.L. Mann High School in Greenville.Watson said she’s looking forward to the all-star experience, but her primary focus now is on the 2008 Lady Jackets, which is a mix of veterans and newcomers.“The girls have been working and asking questions and they really want to have a good team,” Watson said. “The effort and dedication are there for us this season.”The 2008 BHS squad includes seven returnees, including five seniors.Marley Ghent, the team’s captain and a returning all-region player, is at setter. Watson said Ghent is the team’s most experienced player back along with Taylor Glover, a junior middle hitter.Ghent was a starter last season, while Glover drew her share of playing time.Senior Lindsey Pressley, a middle hitter, will be the Lady Jackets’ co-captain. Returning seniors include defensive specialist Christina Burnham, outside hitter Jordan Boone and setter Kasey Usher.Leslie Pressley, an outside hitter, and Glover are the squad’s returning juniors.Newcomers include sophomore setter Lauren Bradburn, the Junior Lady Jackets MVP last fall, along with juniors Krista Blackmon, a middle hitter; Alicia Morris, an outside hitter; and Kayla Hyatt, a defensive specialist.“Although we have a good number of seniors, we’re still a young team because we lost five veteran players who graduated off this team,” Watson said. “We’re small in size, but we will be quick and scrappy.“We need good defense and passing,” she said. “It will be important for us to be quick on our feet and communicate on the court.“This team has been working since early August and made a lot of improvement. If we can keep making progress as we go, I think we will be fine.”Watson said the Conference III-A race will be wide open.“You can always figure Indian Land, McBee and North Central to be battling right there at the top,” Watson said. “I think we will be in there, too. We have to be consistent and work to improve week to week.”A year ago as a Class AA competitor, the Lady Jackets went 11-10 and advanced to the second round of the state playoffs.“We will look to our senior players to lead us and it’s also important for our younger players to keep working and improving each week,” she said.