Lady Tiger hoops trio signs JuCo offers

Courtney HIll, DeeDee White and Ivery Moore with Demopolis High athletic director Stacy Luker, DHS girls basketball coaches Ronnie Abrams and Tony Pittman, and DHS principal Chris Tangle.

Courtney HIll, DeeDee White and Ivery Moore with Demopolis High athletic director Stacy Luker, DHS girls basketball coaches Ronnie Abrams and Tony Pittman, and DHS principal Chris Tangle.

Demopolis High School saw three of its girls basketball players ink scholarship offers Friday, marking the largest signing class of Tony Pittman’s nearly 20-year run atop the program.

“It speaks volumes to our seniors, their commitment to this program for three to four years,” Pittman, whose team went 23-4 during the 2015-2016 season, said of the feat. “It sets the example for the young students and the kids coming up to say, ‘Hey, if I work hard, if I stay committed to the program, if I do the things that the coaches ask me to do, I too can sign scholarships my senior year.’”

Demopolis is sending Ivery Moore to Shelton State, where she will follow in the footsteps of her older sister Shadijah Moore, who parlayed her Shelton State opportunity into a women’s basketball scholarship at Sam Houston State.

“She’s fast and aggressive, the two qualities I am looking for – period – in a player. Ivery is definitely that,” Shelton State coach Madonna Thompson said of Moore, who averaged 16.1 points and 7.1 rebounds per game as a senior. “Other than that, Ivery is just a good kid. I had her older sister playing for me, so I’m familiar with the family, familiar with the coaches and I know how they coach. One of my former players is actually one of her assistant coaches, Gabrielle Essex. It’s just a perfect fit all the way around.”

“She said, ‘You better not go there playing or anything like that because Miss Madonna wants a soldier. She doesn’t want a crybaby.’ She’s proud of me and I better be ready, be strong, get my education,” Ivery, who made honorable mention all-state following her senior season, said of what her sister has told her about playing for Thompson at the Tuscaloosa-based junior college.

For Ivery, the focus will now be on developing her perimeter skills. She spent most of her senior season playing in the post for the Lady Tigers but will be called upon to fill a more natural role at Shelton.

“She’ll probably be a three-guard for us with her size, speed. That’s what we’re going to kind of develop her into,” Thompson said. “She probably needs to work a little bit more on her guard skills, her perimeter shooting and her ball handling. For her to come in and to be able to leave us and play for a four-year school, she’s going to have to play a three-guard.”

“She has been big to this program. From day one, the work ethic, the commitment that she has brought to this team, it’s going to be very hard to replace it. She has been a big part of our success; her leadership, her commitment to not only her game, but the game of her teammates. It’s going to be hard to replace,” Pittman said of Ivery. “They’re getting a hard worker. They’re getting someone who is going to bring some life to the program. She’s going to be a great asset to that program. Her ability, her skillset, she’ll be able to go in and make an immediate impact.”

Joining her in the state’s junior college ranks will be teammates Courtney Hill and Sha’dietra “DeeDee” White, both of whom are headed to Lurleen B. Wallace in Andalusia.

Hill and White each enjoyed strong senior seasons highlighted by a breakout performance against Beauregard in the sub-regional round. That night, White set a program record by dishing out 20 assists while Hill set her own program record by knocking down eight three-pointers.

“I was excited, happy. I was happy because I’m going to be playing at the next level, which I knew I could have. I’ve been working hard all year to play at it and now I can,” White said of the opportunity to play at LBW.

“I was just at a loss for words because it’s a full ride. You can’t beat a full ride going to school to play basketball and doing what I love,” Hill said.

“Her leadership is big. Her commitment to change positions, to know what we needed from that position. She just took it upon herself to get us in the right sets. She knew where the ball needed to go, when to push and when to slow it down. Crucial to our success this year was her point guard play,” Pittman said of White. “They’re getting someone who knows the game of basketball. Her skillsets will be unique for their program because she can play the two. She can shoot the basketball. Whatever the coach needs, she can go in there and make it happen. What he’s getting is a high quality basketball player mindset wise. And her physicality to be able to take those bumps at that position is going to be big for that program.”

While White indicated she will focus on improving her shooting and her defense, she was excited that long-time teammate Hill would be joining her at LBW.

“I’m used to passing her the ball, shot ready, knocking the shot down, getting my assist and everything. So that’ll be good for me and her,” White said.

“It means a lot because I know I’m not going down there by myself. I was nervous at first, but with her I’m not even nervous anymore. We’ve been friends for a long time,” Hill added.

Hill said she intends to develop her ball-handling skills to make herself more versatile to the benefit of her new team. However, she also knows where her greatest strength lies.

“They know I can shoot well. I’m a shooter,” Hill said. “He was asking DeeDee, ‘Where’s the shooter? I want the shooter.’ So that’s what made me want to go down there. He has seen me play. He likes the way I shoot.”

“Someone who is going to be able to stretch the defense,” Pittman said of the kind of player LBW is getting in Hill. “When Courtney is shooting the ball and she’s on her game, she’s fun to watch and she is tough to handle. She has also created the ability to put the ball on the floor because she knows everybody is going to play her that way. Her ability to put the ball on the floor for one or two dribbles and shoot the basketball, and not only that but her defense has gotten better throughout the year. They’re getting a quality basketball player in Courtney as well. I’m very, very proud for Courtney.”

The trio’s signing day gives the Demopolis High School Class of 2016 a total of 11 student-athletes that have thus far committed to extending their athletic careers at the collegiate level.

Ivery Moore alongside her grandmother Beatrice Phillips, aunt Betty Jeanette Jones, Demopolis High coaches Ronnie Abrams and Tony Pittman and Shelton State coach Madonna Thompson.

Ivery Moore alongside her grandmother Beatrice Phillips, aunt Betty Jeanette Jones, Demopolis High coaches Ronnie Abrams and Tony Pittman and Shelton State coach Madonna Thompson.

Courtney Hill alongside her mother Sanyvette Hill and DHS girls basketball coaches Ronnie Abrams and Tony Pittman

Courtney Hill alongside her mother Sanyvette Hill and DHS girls basketball coaches Ronnie Abrams and Tony Pittman

Ivery Moore alongside her grandmother Beatrice Phillips, aunt Betty Jeanette Jones, family friend Reshinda Bryant, Demopolis High coaches Ronnie Abrams and Tony Pittman and Shelton State coach Madonna Thompson.

Ivery Moore alongside her grandmother Beatrice Phillips, aunt Betty Jeanette Jones, family friend Reshinda Bryant, Demopolis High coaches Ronnie Abrams and Tony Pittman and Shelton State coach Madonna Thompson.

Demopolis High School coaches Tony Pittman and Ronnie Abrams with DeeDee White and her parents Jennifer and Detrich White. DeeDee signed with Lurleen B. Wallace out of Andalusia.

Demopolis High School coaches Tony Pittman and Ronnie Abrams with DeeDee White and her parents Jennifer and Detrich White. DeeDee signed with Lurleen B. Wallace out of Andalusia.

Demopolis Lady Tiger basketball players Courtney Hill, Ivery Moore and DeeDee White signed scholarships to Alabama junior college programs Friday.

Demopolis Lady Tiger basketball players Courtney Hill, Ivery Moore and DeeDee White signed scholarships to Alabama junior college programs Friday.

The Demopolis High School girls basketball team celebrates with senior signees Courtney Hill, Ivery Moore and DeeDee White.

The Demopolis High School girls basketball team celebrates with senior signees Courtney Hill, Ivery Moore and DeeDee White.