Liberty County High School Lady Panther basketball player Jaelynn James will remain a Lady Panther for her collegiate basketball career now that she has penned her name to a scholarship to play at LaGrange College in Valdosta.
James signed the letter of intent Friday afternoon, then donned her cap and gown and graduated that evening.
James will join her former high-school teammate Kymberli Payno, who just finished her freshman season at LaGrange.
“It felt like a little piece of home,” James said about the campus and the fact that a former Lady Panther is at the school. “Plus I will be able to be in the nursing program while still being able to play basketball, and that was a big plus.”
“We’ve been really hoping for her to have the best opportunities and, after seeing many different schools and talking to many different coaches, LaGrange seemed to be the perfect fit,” her mother, Angel James, added. “It’s within driving distance, I can get there in a day, and their nursing program is exceptional.”
James said being able to come home and see her parents as needed was another reason LaGrange was a huge draw.
The aspiring pediatric nurse said she will likely play point guard and that the coaching staff at LaGrange hinted she would get playing time during her freshman year.
Statistics are posted for her junior and senior year on maxpreps.com. Those stats show that she played in 45 games and averaged 10.4 points, one assist, three rebounds and 1.7 steals per game and scored 467 points in the two seasons.
“I am so proud of her… All the times we used to play in the front yard and I used to beat her,” her brother Javious James said in jest. “All that hard work finally paid off for her, I’m just so proud of her.”
James’ father, Henry James, said he was extremely proud of his daughter.
Mom said she hopes her daughter will remain true to who she is.
“We’ve raised her well, and she knows what she should and shouldn’t do. She needs to stay focused on her goals and do the best she can (with) every opportunity,” she said.