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    Holmes County building a state-contending roster

    By Kaleigh Tingelstad,


    GRACEVILLE, Fla. ( WMBB ) — The Holmes County girls basketball team is adding depth to an already stacked roster, hoping to win the program’s first state title.

    The Lady Blue Devils are coming off a strong 14-10 season. They finished in the Class 1A Region 1 Semi-Final, where they fell by just four points to a final-four team, Ponce De Leon.

    Holmes County is returning a handful of players, many experienced upperclassmen. That includes the top two scorers from last season. Rising senior, Emma Whitaker averaged over 17 points a game as a junior, and rising senior, Savannah Goodman averaged over 11 points a game.

    “I got a good nucleus,” First-year head coach Joan Albury said. “If we can bring some of the younger players in. I’m looking forward to it and I think we can do some great things.”

    Some of the most valuable experiences come from two athletes who will wear a Holmes County jersey for the first time this season.

    Former Graceville basketball star, Brianna Adams transferred to Bonifay back in the spring for softball. She chose to stay her senior season for more consistency.

    Adams is coming off back-to-back final-four appearances with the Tigers and was just three points shy of a state title in her junior season.

    “I still love those girls and they still love me,” Adams said. “We still have a relationship. We’ll just be on opposite sides of the court.”

    The other transfer is rising freshman and Bonifay native Jacee Bowers. Bowers spent one year at Ponce De Leon. She went to PDL as an eighth-grader to chase the opportunity of playing at the varsity level as a middle schooler.

    Her skill set landed her a spot in the starting five, with an experienced senior class that has been to Lakeland more than any other group in the Panhandle.

    “I didn’t even know if I would have a starting spot,” Bowers said. “I knew I would have to work and my coach told me, you’re going to have to fight for your spot. That’s what I wanted to go over there and do.”

    The final new piece to the puzzle was head coach, Joan Albury. She is returning to Holmes County after a nearly two-decade hiatus.

    The Blue Devils are still in the early days of this chapter, with just four summer practices in the book. The bar has already been set high, chasing one goal.

    “Our goal this year is not to win districts, It’s not to win regionals,” Adams said. “We want to win a state title this year.”

    While Adams and Bowers have made it to the final stage, they are still chasing that ring. This team is hoping to play a part in bringing the first girls basketball state title to Holmes County.

    “As a player, my dream was to play in the state tournament,” Albury said. “That didn’t pan out. We never could get out of the regionals. Now, my goal as a coach is to get to coach in a state tournament.”

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