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Hicks' comeback from injury triggers Lady Jays' rout of Forsyth in seniors' home finale


Clever’s full-court press brought out the best in Brylie Hicks during a week that started with the Lady Jays not sure what she would be able to bring, if anything.

Hicks bounced back from a bang to her head to deliver a dozen points in Clever’s 68-41 Mid-Lakes Conference blowout of Forsyth on Thursday.

She scored seven points in the first few minutes, as the Lady Jays jumped on top 14-2 and never looked back.

All this after Hicks fell while trying to block a shot and her head hit the floor in Clever's loss at Strafford last week, forcing her to miss the Lady Jays' ensuing game with Hollister as a pre-caution as she underwent tests for a concussion.

No concussion, but there were lingering effects.

“I didn't get dizzy or anything, but was nervous I was going to have a concussion,” Hicks said. “Then, I was super nervous to get back in there. I was scared I was going to hit my head again and something would happen. I had to get out of my head about it, tell myself I was fine and get back in there. I told myself I can't hold myself back, that I have to push and leave it all out on the court.”

“We were a little worried about her. She was kind of tentative in practice and I wasn't sure if she was ready to go,” coach Clark Satterlee said. “But she's been flying around making plays, getting her hands on balls. She's really good at anticipating and it's hard to teach kids how to do that.”

With Hicks spearheading Clever’s press, the Lady Jays had nine steals in the first half alone and finished the night with 14.

“I love pressing, it's a lot of fun,” Hicks said. “I feel I can use my speed when we press and defense is one of my biggest strengths.”

Look for Clever (16-9) to unleash its press during the post-season.

“We've got some speed and athleticism. We have to get after people and find ways to get them flustered,” Satterlee said. “We’ve got to play to our strengths. Sitting in a half-court (set) and letting the other team throw it inside is not good for us. Anything we can do to speed teams up and apply pressure is what we're going to do.

"You can pick and choose when to do it,” he added. “It’s a tool we have and we'll bring it out when we feel it's necessary.”

“We're a super fast team,” Hicks said. ‘We can use our press against everybody, even Strafford or Fair Grove.”

“We play the game like a track meet,” guard Ireland Jones said “We don't like to go north and south. We speed teams up. It shows our strengths, with Jayleign (Flood) and Brylie reading passes like they do.”

Jones isn’t a trackster, but thrives in a full-court affair with a fast tempo. She burned Forsyth for 29 points on 11-of-22 shooting from the field. She netted four 3-pointers.

Jones gave track a try her sophomore year and finished second in the javelin at the Mid-Lakes Meet. But she stepped away from track and hasn't been back.

“I loved it. But it was more of a safety concern,” she said. “I have bad ankles and with those tight track shoes I couldn't wear my ankle braces.”

Thursday’s game was the home finale for Hicks, Jones and Flood, along with fellow senior Bailie McClanahan.

“It's emotional knowing I'm never going to play in this gym again, except for when I come back for the alumni games,” Jones said. “I’m a Clever Lady Jay through and through.”

“I enjoyed it while it lasted,” Hicks said of playing at home. “But we aren't finished, yet.”

Clever will tip off  Class 3 District 12 play at 5:30 p;.m. Wednesday at Lamar against Monday's Southwest-Lamar winner.