The basketball season has just began, and the Lady Lions are off to a great start! With several games, and even a local tournament behind them, they are eager to start the regular season. Coach Chris Nickleberry is the girls’ head coach, and has been for the past 14 years. With an eventful career, and the loss of several seniors this past year, I was curious to ask Nick a few questions in regards to this season.
After playing numerous games, what are your thoughts towards this season?
We are a young team that will improve as the season progresses. We possess a lot of positive things to on, and it will soon all come together as our chemistry better develops.
Last year your team was primarily made up of seniors. In fact, you lost 7 great athletes. What is this year’s team having to do to make up for this loss?
This team has to find their own identity and work on our strengths. This is my tallest team ever, and we will hang our hats on defense. Once we play more games, we will fully grow into our own team.
Who are one or two players that have surprised you in practice, or in the first few games this season that we as fans should be watching for?
Zareya Nelms has stepped into a bigger role this year. Meeyah Davis and Reagan Heggins have as well.
What game will be considered the “biggest game” this season? Who is our toughest competition?
We treat all games as big games because anything can happen any given game night. Buffalo and Teague have developed a good rivalry throughout the years.
Which player(s) do you expect to lead your team this year? Not only on the court, but in practice, the locker room, the hallways at school, and in their daily lives.
That role can come from anyone on the team. However, I typically allow my seniors to take the lead.
What do you look for in high school girls who are yearning to play basketball?
I look for kids that are coachable, and willing to learn.
On a more personal level, Coach informed me that, “coaching has given him joy” throughout the years. This is joy comes from when he sees athletes that he once coached be successful in life. This success reminds him of the hand he had in their journey, his part in their success.
He also added that coaching has “not only made him a better man, but has helped him appreciate what he does.” Nickleberry feels that God has called him into coaching to make a difference in the lives of youth.
This is Coach Nickleberry’s 15th year coaching for our district, and his 14th year as head coach. Nick moved to Teague in 1996, and claims that “this place saved my life.” A phrase that many residents of our little town would would agree with.
“I coach here because I want to give back what Teague gave to me.”
On November 27th, the Lady Lions played Leon, at home, and won . This win was not just another win, but Nickleberry’s 100th career win. Congratulations on such a huge accomplishment Coach, and best of luck this season.
Teague is lucky to have you.