All-Area: Cougars' Battle learns fast in breakout season
By PATRICK MASON
Saturday, June 8, 2019
Trapped. Surrounded. No option of going back.
If this happens, prepare for symptoms which can include loss of personal space, heightened frustration levels and sometimes a racing mind.
Just ask SouthWest Edgecombe’s Jada Battle, who has dealt all of those feelings and more on the basketball court this past season. The Cougars point guard saw a wide variety of defenses in an attempt to slow down the talented sophomore.
“I’m very emotional on the court, I'm working on that,” Battle said. “I saw a lot of new things this year.”
Battle, the Telegram’s girls’ basketball player of the year, adapted to life as the Cougars’ do-it-all player and proved to be a unique problem for opponents this season.
Soon, the plan to deal with the 5-foot-8 guard was to mix up how she is defended. Sometimes it’s a man look, while other times she would have to fight through traps and double teams.
Battle was part of a roster made up largely of underclassmen, and it was her job to lead the group. She played in all 27 games, and scored a whopping 388 points.
Knock-down shooter Bailey Davis was next on the team with 239 points scored in a 15-game injury-shortened season.
Battle averaged 14.4 points per game and added a team-high 7.1 assists per game. Maybe even more impressive was her 5.1 steals per game, a feat which underscored the way coach Sandra Langley marveled at how the sophomore didn’t seem to tire.
“When Bailey went down with her ankle, Jada had to keep this thing together,” Langley said. “She brought the ball up the court just about every time and played hard defense.”
SWE went 20-7, and advanced to the second round of the 2-A playoffs. Battle fought through plenty of attention from opposing defenses, and still found a way to score, dish assists, and play stout defense of her own.
The ability to do so was simple enough, Battle said. Just keep moving.
“I try to make sure my team and everybody gets the ball and scores,” Battle said. “It’s important that we could all be able to score. And to do that, well, basketball is a movement game, you can’t stay still in the same spots.”
Battle and the Cougars stayed moving through a tough Eastern Plains Conference, and never had a losing streak reach more than two games.
In a recent interview, Battle spoke about dealing with a number of defenses, the toughest gym to play in, and her dream job in the Telegram’s All-Area series.
What did you learn this season after playing against a bunch of different defenses?
I’m more of a complete player. I saw zones, box-and-1 and trapping. Lot’s of trapping. They would focus on trapping me and pressing. I just had to keep the ball in the middle and pass it to the right place.
You guys played in a tough conference. What was the toughest road gym to play in?
Well I remember the best game was when we actually beat North Pitt because it’s so hard to win there. That was a good game for everybody.
What makes that gym so difficult?
I can't answer that. It’s just something about the gym, the fans, it’s a hard place to win at. We came from behind to win and it showed us what we can do. Everybody was together that game, everyone scoring and shooting good shots.
What’s your favorite food to eat after a game?
I like turkey wings. I could eat them every day.
What would be your dream job?
I would be a physical therapist. The (athletic trainer) here motivates me for some reason. I could see myself doing that.
Jada Battle, SouthWest Edgecombe
Mya Pittman, Rocky Mount High
Jada Morris, Rocky Mount High
Bailey Davis, SouthWest Edgecombe
Angelic Dawson, Rocky Mount Prep
Alexis Moore, Rocky Mount High
Kenasja Dunn, SouthWest Edgecombe
Hannah Evans, Northern Nash
Summer Hicks, Rocky Mount High
Kylar Wiggins, Northern Nash
Jadaysia Hedgepeth, Northern Nash
Kaylain Mitchell, Northern Nash
Rayna Bailey, Southern Nash
Stacie Winner, Southern Nash
Shontell Nicholson, Southern Nash