February 2, 2024

From Last to First: Leesburg High School Girls Basketball Team Seeks Championship

2.5 min read| Published On: February 2nd, 2024|

By Kyle Coppola

From Last to First: Leesburg High School Girls Basketball Team Seeks Championship

2.5 min read| Published On: February 2nd, 2024|

If you’re looking for a team to root for this season, it’s the Leesburg Lady Yellow Jackets girls basketball team. They went from dead last in their division last season to earning the #1 seed in the district tournament. The turnaround has been immense.

Last season, the Lady Yellow Jackets finished the season 1-24. They finished dead last in Class 5A District 5, and something had to change. At the start of the season, things would completely change for Leesburg High School. Now in February of 2024, the Lady Jackets are ranked #1 in the district tournament with a 20-1 regular season record!

Last year, Leesburg High School did not even keep statistics, so we don’t know what to compare to, but we can compare average scores. Last season, the Lady Jackets were averaging 20 points per game. Unfortunately, that will not win many basketball games with those numbers. But when 2023/2024 arrived, the girls’ team would take a major leap competitively.

In fact, at the beginning of this season, the Lady Jackets did not even have a head coach until Sean Campbell stepped up with D’mani Nettles, Eltra Graham and Johnathan Streeter and took on the coaching of the Lady Jackets. As soon as this team stepped on the floor this season, they were destined for greatness.

Leesburg began to do what they had not done in years: be a winning basketball team. But this team did not just win games; they scared opponents, ran circles around the competition, and at times beat teams by more than 60+ points! Their average score increased to ove 60 points per game!

(Assistant coach D’mani Nettles goes through a teaching moment with one of his players. Nettles is just 22 years-old and is one of the youngest assistant basketball coaches in Lake County. His youth resonates well with the players on both boys and girls teams.)

This is not only due to great coaching but the players this season. Leesburg High School has some of the most talented players in all of Class 5A at the moment, with Ariyana Hester and Aniya Hester, along with Saige McCloud, who is ranked as the #1 player in Class 5A District 5.

McCloud has averaged 20 points per game this season, and both Hester sisters are averaging above 10 points per game at the moment. The team has come together nicely and should be one of the favorites to go on a run in the FHSAA Playoffs.

Coach Sean Campbell is also about to break through 200 wins as a head coach. That should happen this upcoming week on either Tuesday or Wednesday. “We are expecting big things, the girls are peaking at the right time. It’s been a ton of hard-work and often times the coaching staff is spread thin with coaching both boys and girls teams but we are making it work.” says assistant coach D’mani Nettles. 

(Head Coach Sean Campbell is the head coach of both the Boys and Girls Varsity teams this year. A challenging task but one that he has embraced. Coach Campbell is a two time state-champion winning coach for the Leesburg boys program in 2016 and 2017.)

Going from last to first is not easy, and it takes a team of people. Leesburg High School certainly has the right people leading their school both academically and athletically. Leesburg High had a 91% graduation rate in 2023; the entire school has a ton of positivity going for it right now. We love to see the girls’ programs succeeding. The Lady Jackets will next play on February 7th against the winer of Vanguard and Tavares.

Best of luck to the Lady Jackets in the district tournament!

Leave A Comment

About the Author: Kyle Coppola

Kyle Coppola was born in Newton, Massachusetts and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communications from Curry College in 2016. After traveling to Florida on a family vacation, he decided he could not get enough of the warm weather and made the move from snowy Massachusetts to central Florida 8 years ago.

For the last decade Kyle has gained valuable experience in social media content creation, marketing and sales, writing, video production, sports announcing and even broadcasting for local radio stations, such as FM 102.9 in The Villages and FM 91.5 in Massachusetts. Every year he volunteers at The Villages Charter High School as a play-by-play sports announcer for the football games as well as a public address announcer for the basketball games, including the annual Battle at The Villages Tournament.

Outside the office Kyle is a husband and father to two beautiful girls along with their cat. In his spare time he likes to spend time with his family, travel, play golf and swim. He is also a huge sports junkie and even bigger motorsports fan and loves to attend racing events when he can.

Share This Story!

Never miss an issue,  Sign up for the Style Newletter!