By BOB REDD
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Saturday afternoon, weather permitting, five members of the Bluefield State College Lady Blues will take to the court at Ned Shott Gymnasium for their final home regular season game.
Jenaya Abernathy, Lawanna “Shay” Gravely, Andrea “Indy” Hauser, Kearah Jefferys and Shae Mebane are all senior members of the team who have contributed significantly to the program. Their time at BSC has varied from one year to four, but head coach J.J. Oliver spoke of the importance and contributions of each.
“We’ve got a diverse group of seniors ranging from Shay Gravely, who is a kid who we’ve had since freshman year, to the junior college transfers, all the way to Kearah Jefferys, who has only been with us for a year,” Oliver noted. “Each one of them has meant a great deal to our program and done an excellent job with the things that we’ve asked them to do. It’s very important to see the different shades of seniors that we have because you get a chance to see how the program has evolved.”
Gravely is the only one of the group to have spent all four years of her eligibility at BSC.
“She has gone through the ups and downs with us as a program, having been a part of the program from the ground floor when we started, all the way to the point where we have developed to now,” Oliver said. “It’s a testament to her hard work and leadership.”
Last season the Lady Blues finished with a .500 record, a fact that is not lost on Oliver who won three games his first season, eight his second and 14 last year.
“That was the best record the school had in 17 years,” Oliver noted. “We have an opportunity in front of us this year to not only finish above .500, but if wee were to actually win out, we would finish with a record that’s the best percentage wise in the last 18 years. These seniors have been a big part of that growth.”
Jenaya Abernathy comes off the bench for the Lady Blues and provides energy and excitement on both ends of the court.
“She is ultra-athletic and able to score in bunches,” Oliver said. “She has an aspiration to play beyond here and she’s got the physical tools to be able to do that.
“She is an extremely hard worker, a quiet kid that doesn’t say a whole lot, but just takes care of business on and off the floor. We can count on her to bring a lot of energy to our team. She probably deserves to be in the starting lineup a lot, but we purposely don’t start her because we want her energy coming off the bench.”
Two of the seniors came to Bluefield State from St. Augustine College, where Oliver coached prior to becoming the head coach at BSC. Indy Hauser has played two years for the Lady Blues, Shae Mebane three.
“Andrea, Indy, is a kid I recruited at my previous school. She’s a shooter and a very good kid, a kid who is able to play multiple positions for us because of her size at the guard spot,” Oliver said. “One of the other things she provides for us is leadership off the court. She’s a little bit older than some of the other girls so she’s kind of a big sister, mother hen to our team. I think her example and leadership has been tremendous in helping us grow as a team.”
Mebane is he other transfer from St. Augustine.
“She played at St. Aug a year, really wanted to play for me,” Oliver said. “I ended up leaving before she got a chance to play for me there, but after her first year she decided to transfer to us and she has been ultra-successful.
“She came in and provided immediate results on the floor and gave us immediate credibility in the paint. She’s ultra-athletic and can jump out of the gym. When we were in the WVIAC she was an honorable mention all-conference.”
Jefferys joined BSC this season, transferring from Shaw University.
“Circumstances deemed that she decided to transfer this year,” Oliver said. “Through a conversation we had, we felt there was a mutual need for us. She stepped into a position where there was an immediate need when we found out Charity Harris was going to miss the year due to her ACL injury. I think she brought instant credibility to our guard spot.”
Oliver said all of the seniors on the team are outstanding not only on the court, but in the classroom.
“Each one of those student-athletes are on track to graduate if not this spring, then next fall,” Oliver pointed out. “They have all been good character kids who were able to see a vision that we had and buy into it and believe in it and have had success.”
The Lady Blues host Oakland City from Indiana, Saturday afternoon at 2:00.
— Contact Bob Redd at firstname.lastname@example.org