PRESTONSBURG – Brandon Gearheart is headed into his third season as the head coach of the Prestonsburg High School girls’ basketball team. Following his team’s summer season, Gearheart is eager for the 2015-16 campaign.
“I’m excited about the upcoming season,” Prestonsburg Coach Brandon Gearheart said. “The girls in our program have turned things around and we can’t wait. We had so much fun last year, winning games and making waves. We even donated our time to raising money and awareness for great causes like Relay for Life and CP (Cerebral Palsy). It was such a great ride and one our program desperately needed. Our girls are special. They’ve worked like crazy and are starting to see the benefits. We are going to miss Shantale Collins and Elizabeth Prater, both of whom graduated. They were very instrumental in getting this program back on its feet. This program is in much better shape than what it was back three years ago and it’s a testament to what a great group of girls we have.”
The Lady Blackcats will look to carry momentum from the 2014-15 season over into the 2015-16 campaign. Prestonsburg is the defending 58th District champion.
“We are coming off the best season Prestonsburg has had since 2006,” Gearheart added. Last season, we finished 16-14, doubling our win total of eight in my first season. We shared a piece of the conference championship, won the 58th District Tournament, won a game in the 15th Region Tournament and advanced to the regional semifinals, losing to a very experienced Sheldon Clark team. We also upset defending 15th Region Champion Shelby Valley in the All-A in what some thought to be the biggest upset in the state last year.”
A pair of players who averaged double figures in the scoring column are due back for the Prestonsburg girls’ basketball team. Sophomore point guard Jana Jarvis and senior Tiffany Meadows are poised to lead the Lady Blackcats in the 2015-16 season. Jarvis averaged 13 points, 11 rebounds and six assists per game for Prestonsburg during the 2014-15 season. Meadows led the Lady Blackcats in scoring, averaging a team-high 18.3 points per game.
“Jana, in my opinion, is one of the best young guards in the state,” Gearheart said. “She is a great leader and tireless worker and really loves the game. She’s special and is going to be the best or one of the best players Prestonsburg has ever had.
“Tiffany is going to be our lone senior, so she’s going to have to raise her game and show she can be a leader. She had some gall bladder issues this summer and did not participate in summer ball. She started out of the gate on fire when the season opened. We are hoping she will do the same thing this season.”
Prestonsburg will face a challenging 2015-16 schedule as Gearheart enters his third season as head coach.
“Our schedule is tough and I think it will take some time to find ourselves and our identity,” Gearheart commented. “As I mentioned, we lost two senior guards who were really important for us. This might be a season where we take a small step back and endure a rebuilding year. We are talented but young and I expect growing pains. I think we will struggle early on. This county is getting better and I believe if the season started today South Floyd and Betsy Layne would be the favorites in the 58th District. I think by the time the postseason starts we can be dangerous. We still have high expectations for our program. We want to continue our momentum. We want to tangle with the best teams in and out of this region night in and night out. We want to be the best. We want to play the best. We are all working towards the day when we can be the ones who hop on that bus going to the Sweet 16. I’m very proud and excited about my team, where we have come and where we are going.”
Steve LeMaster is the editor of The Floyd County Times. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.