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Lady Tiger scores honors in hoops

By By LYDIA GRIMES – Feature Writer
In many ways Ashley Samuel is the typical teenager. She goes to school. She thinks about clothes and boys and is involved with her church and her community.
In another way, she is not the typical teen. Ashley Samuel was recently selected as the 3A Player of Year for girls basketball.
The 2002/2003 Alabama Sports Writers Association (ASWA) Player of the Year Awards ceremony, sponsored by The Birmingham News and Birmingham Post-Herald, was held March 21, 2003 at Birmingham Southern College in Birmingham. She was one of three girls voted finalists in Class 3A by the ASWA and recognized at the ceremony. It was there that Samuel was announced the 3A Player of the Year for girls basketball.
This is not the first honor that has come her way. She is only a junior in high school but she has already been a member of two all-state teams, has been to two state tournaments and has been on one state championship team.
The five foot, nine inch guard-forward averaged 22 points and eight rebounds per game during the 2002-2003 season leading the 4A state champions back to the state tournament for T.R. Miller's first year in 3A. She was also selected as the 2002-2003 Player of the Year by The Mobile Register for high school basketball.
Samuel is not new to basketball. She has been playing with a basketball since she was old enough to dribble the ball. She started playing organized basketball in the seventh grade.
She has not missed playing since she started playing in the seventh grade and it has been as good for her as she has been for the game. She loves basketball and is not shy about letting anyone know it. She works very hard on the skills she needs for the game. She learned the lesson well that players need to use the off season to practice. That is just what she did during the summer working on her shooting, defense and conditioning preparing for her junior year.
Samuel's coach, Ronald Jackson, has nothing but good things to say about her.
Basketball is not the only game in town for Samuel. She also is very good at track and field and she plays softball in the summer with the league at Sportsman Park. She races in the 100, 200 and 400 meter runs. Last year the track team from T.R. Miller won first in the state in the 4×100 and 4×400 meter runs. They won second in the 100 and 200 races and Samuel's efforts made a big difference. She also plays softball in the summertime with the league at Sportsman Park where she plays shortstop.
Although sports are a big part of her life, Samuel's routine is not all play and no work. She is president of her class at school, is a member of the National Honor Society, a member of the math team and is fourth in her class carrying a 4.0 grade point average. She is already setting her sights on a scholarship to a good college and with her skills on the basketball court and in the classroom, she shouldn't have any trouble getting one.
Samuel has one sister and two brothers. Her mother, Betty Samuel Jackson, is a CNA at WestGate Village Nursing Home and her dad, Bo Jackson, does construction work at Citation (ADICO).
Samuel is working very hard, along with the other girls on T.R. Miller's basketball team. Although they saw their hopes of another championship fade away this year, there is always next year.
If everything goes her way, there will be another championship game in her future and this time the team will come out the winner.