Blinn’s Hailey Atwood Named Region XIV Women’s Basketball Player Of The Year
Blinn College sophomore guard Hailey Atwood (Austin) was named Region XIV Women’s Basketball Player of the Year and head coach Jeff Jenkins was named Coach of the Year after leading the 23rd-ranked Buccaneers to the regional tournament semifinals.
“I was named coach of the year because I was surrounded by a class of kids who played hard and went 43-13 in two years, and we added good freshmen to go with them,” head coach Jeff Jenkins said. “I have an assistant, Brianna Luton, who went out and found players who were not only talented, but also competitive. Anytime you get named coach of the year, it is because you have really good players who play hard every day, and I will always be very appreciative of this team’s effort, competitiveness, and desire to win.”
The Buccaneers finished the season ranked 23rd in the nation with an overall record of 18-6 and tied for second in the region with a 13-3 conference record. This marks the fourth time Jenkins, who has a 441-252 career record, has been named the Region XIV Coach of the Year.
“Hailey competes hard not only every game, but also every practice,” Jenkins said. “She also competes in the classroom with a 4.0 grade point average. She is a truly special player off and on the court who deserves everything she is getting.”
Atwood led the region with 18.5 points per game and was fourth in the region with a field goal percentage of 50%. She was second on the Buccaneers with seven rebounds and 2.7 assists per game. Atwood totaled six double-doubles and scored a season-high 34 points against Bossier Parish Community College on March 29.
Atwood also earned Region XIV all-tournament honors after leading Blinn with 33 points and totaling nine rebounds in two games. Throughout Atwood’s two seasons starting for Blinn, she totaled 752 points and 305 rebounds.
“It means a lot to me to be recognized this year and I am happy that I was able to finally prove that I deserve accolades,” Atwood said. “There were a lot of odds against us this season after losing the players we did last year, but to finish tied for second in the region really shows how good our coaches are and how good our team is. My teammates made great passes to me, we all worked hard in practice and had the same competitive mindset, so that all contributed to this award.”
Sophomore guard Keaundra Eddings (Navasota) joined Atwood in receiving all-region and all-conference honors, while freshman guard Telisha Brown (Houston) earned all-conference honorable mention. Eddings was second on the team with 12.6 points per game and also recorded 3.2 rebounds per game. She scored a season-high 24 points against Cisco College on Jan. 27. In two seasons at Blinn, Eddings totaled 442 points and 161 rebounds.
“It was really fun to watch Keaundra improve from a freshman, where she averaged around four points a game, to this season where she averaged over 12.5 points,” Jenkins said. “Her confidence grew both on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. Keaundra is truly a great scorer and will do great things in the future.”
Brown ranked first on the Buccaneers and fourth in the region with a 39.8 three point field goal percentage. She led Blinn with 2.7 assists per game, finished third on the team with 10.1 points per game and fifth with 3.8 rebounds per game. Brown recorded a season-high 22 points against Trinity Valley Community College on March 10.
“Telisha is a very talented player,” Jenkins said. “She averaged 10 points per game and shot 40% behind the three-point arc as a freshman. If she continues to improve and work hard, she could be a special player.”
The Buccaneers defeated Paris Junior College 54-44 in the NJCAA Region XIV quarterfinals before their season concluded in semifinals.
Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 42 NJCAA national championships since 1987. For more information, visit www.buccaneersports.com.