SPORTS >>Senior Lady Owl signs on with Central Baptist
By JASON KING
Leader sports editor
Abundant Life senior Sierra Durham will go from the red and black of the Lady Owls to the white and blue of the Central Baptist College Lady Mustangs next year. Durham signed her letter of intent to play at CBC Thursday morning at the Abundant Life gymnasium.
Durham is a four-year starter for the Lady Owls.
She was named All-Conference in her freshman, sophomore and junior seasons. So far this season, she averages 18 points per game for the Lady Owls, along with five rebounds and three assists.
Sierra is the daughter of Jim and Darlene Durham of Jacksonville. Her career high for a game was 30 points last season, and lists accumulating over 1,000 points in only two years as one of her greatest athletic accomplishments.
On hand for the signing was Lady Mustangs basketball coach Lyle Middleton. Middleton says that he hopes for Durham to make a difference on his budding team in more ways than one.
“Sierra is not afraid to take it inside the paint and play with the big girls,” Middleton said. “We think she will help us be more aggressive defensively than what we have been, but we know she can put it on the floor and score as well. She’s just a scrappy player.
“We are a young program, mostly freshmen and sophomores. We only graduate one senior this year, so we are looking to bring Sierra and some of the younger girls in and have an immediate impact on our program.”
Lady Owls coach Justin Mosely says Durham’s impact on her high-school team has been second to none during his tenure at Abundant Life.
“Her freshman year, we won one game,” Mosely said. “We won a few more each successive year, and last year, we won 16 games. We’re on track to win about 18 or 20 games this year. We’re on the increase, and Sierra has played a big role in that. She has been a consistent player. We’ve had some girls that would score 15 points in one game, and then maybe not score at all for the next three games. With Sierra, we get a 15-point game out of her every night, if not more. I think being able to depend on her like that has helped us build up our program.
“She never misses an open practice, which is something you rarely see. I’ve had to cancel a couple of them before because I was out of town, and she got mad at me.”
Durham’s list of accomplishments through her high school career is even more impressive with the fact that she did not start playing basketball at all until the eighth grade.
She has also won team awards for most points, most steals and best free-throw percentage.
Durham says the decision to go to CBC was not a tough choice at all. One visit to the campus was all it took for her to decide that she wanted to be a Lady Mustang.
“What initially attracted me to the college was that it is a Christian school,” Durham said. “I go to a Christian school now, and I want to stay in that type of environment. I wasn’t really trying to go anywhere big, like a D1 school or anything like that. It is a small campus; it just felt like home. I think the program there will be a good fit for me.”