Leader Blues

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

SPORTS>>SAU signs a second Lady ’Rab

By JASON KING
Leader sportswriter

Joining her teammate at the next level, Lonoke senior Calisha Kirk signed her letter of intent to attend Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia on Monday afternoon. Fellow Lady Jackrabbit Kristy Shinn signed with the Muleriders two weeks prior, giving the school a strong Lonoke connection.

Kirk, the 5’-11” forward, had an incredible senior year as a starter on the Lady Jackrabbits basketball team. She averaged 14.2 points per game, 7.5 rebounds per game, along with 1.9 assists per game and 1.7 steals per game.

Kirk was named to the All Conference team twice, and was named to the 4A All-State team her senior year. In a first for Lonoke High School girls athletics, Kirk will also participate in the state All-Star game in Fayetteville later this summer as a starter on the East squad.

Kirk helped lead the Lady Jackrabbits to an outright conference title in the 4A-2, as well as district and regional championships. Lonoke also made only its third trip ever to the state finals, losing a closely contested game to Central Arkansas Christian after leading for most of the second half.

For Lady Jackrabbits coach Nathan Morris, it is the fourth signing in his two years as head coach. For the second straight year, two of his three seniors went to the next level, giving him an impressive 66 percent signing ratio.

Morris believes that Kirk becoming a Lady Mulerider will be a huge advantage for both her and Shinn.

“We are certainly proud that Calisha is able to have this accomplishment,” Morris said. “I think that she and Kristy will be a good fit there, and the fact that they have already played together for all of these years will be very helpful down the road. To have two girls heading out to the same school is pretty exciting for us all; everyone in Lonoke will just have to become Mulerider fans now.”

Kirk’s leadership was evident all throughout the playoffs this season for the Lady Jackrabbits. In the district championship game against host team Pocahontas, Kirk led the team in scoring, and put in the title-winning shot of an inbounds pass with seconds remaining on the clock.

Big plays like that have made Kirk a favorite to watch among local high school basketball fans. Her ability to score inside is a great compliment to outside abilities of Shinn, making the duo a great package deal for Lady Muleriders coach Sam Biley and the SAU squad.