Girls basketball subregional: Lee looks to avenge loss against Opelika

Girls basketball subregional: Lee looks to avenge loss against Opelika


Girls basketball subregional: Lee looks to avenge loss against Opelika


A road victory against Opelika in a Class 6A subregional tonight would mean so much more than a tally in the win column.

Sure, it’s the first time since coach Freeah Smith joined Robert E. Lee (18-8) four seasons ago that the Generals have gotten out of the area tournament, and a win over a team that won handily in the regular season would be nice.

But for a school in mourning after student Alex Bridgman died while on a field trip last week, a win over Opelika would be an entire school victory.

“It would be big for our school,” Smith said. “We’ve had a rough year. We lost a student less than a week ago, had some issues with some administrators and then we had an administrator who’s been out sick. So it’s been a really tough year for us. The whole school is supporting us.”

While a win would mean so much off the court, on the court, the Generals will look to UAB signee T’erra Lewis to lead the way. The 5-foot-6 senior has emerged as the vocal leader for the Generals to the point where Lewis even handles some coaching duties.

“She’s the leader on this team. I think the kids may listen to her a little more than they listen to me,” Smith said. “She gets the team going. She can shoot the outside shot, she can drive it in and she can make free throws. If I could pick a player out of the city, she would always be my No. 1.”

Lewis — along with other players — was injured when Opelika blew out Lee in the regular season. But now that the Generals are back at full strength, they’re looking forward to redeeming themselves.

“When we played them earlier in the season we didn’t have everybody back,” Lewis said. “So they’re going to come in thinking it’s an easy win, but we’re coming in knowing that we have this game and the only reason they won is because we were down. But we’re back, and we’re ready.”

Along with Lewis’ stellar play, the Generals have taken a leap this season thanks to newcomer Tia Thicklin. Smith said Thicklin’s post play has allowed the Lee guards like Lewis and Tykeria Williams to flourish.

“I knew before I came up here that I was the missing link,” Thicklin said. “They needed a post player, and I feel like I’m a great post player. I came up here, got the job done and earned my starting position.”

Even though the Generals are entering uncharted waters since none of the players have ever been in a subregional, they aren’t letting the nerves get to them. The Generals last competed in the subregionals in 2008. Before that, they were in the subregionals from 1998-2001. They’re confident in the game plan, in themselves and they know they have the school behind them.

“We’re just excited to still keep playing,” Smith said. “The girls have assured me that we’re going to go up there and play well. So I’m excited and they’re excited. This is our first time being in the postseason, so we’re just trying to make the most of it.”


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