Lady Apaches Form the "Iron Eight" - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Lady Apaches Form the "Iron Eight"

For the past few weeks, it has been just eight ladies on the court for Tyler Junior College and they have boosted the Apaches to a 20-6 record overall, 9-5 in conference.

It is all pretty good for a team that began the season with 12 players.

"Different situations, things happen," said Lady Apache Coach Trenia Tillis-Jones. "Rule infractions, class, different things happen. We are now down to eight and that's how we are going to finish."

But these eight hope to finish with a trip to nationals like another Apache team did once before. In 1966, the Apache "Ironman Eight" landed a spot in the national tournament. Forty-one years later, the Apaches hope it is the ladies turn.

"We deserve it," said Apache post, Keshia Warren. "We've been through a lot of adversity this season."

"Everybody gets along and I think that's what makes us work harder," said forward Chasity Shavers. "Now, we are down just to the people who really want to be here."

Eight players means more work during the games and less time resting on the bench. Playing for almost two hours with eight players can be exhausting.

"It's really tough, especially during practice," Warren said.

It is a tough adjustment but Coach Tillis-Jones thinks this team is tough enough to make it all the way to nationals. She believes they deserve to be called the "Iron Eight."

"Iron is one of those metals you've got to take a welding torch to break it down," she said, "and it's going to take a welding torch team to come in and take this title from them. If they'll come in and be the iron team and be metal, be strong, be hard, they are going to do whatever they want to do."

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