Tyra, who was a starter as a freshman on last year's Lady Cougar team, has been playing AAU ball for Bowling Green's Kentucky Blast since the end of the season last March.
Actually, she has been playing on two different teams, one a team for 15-year-olds, and the other for 16-year-olds. It is the 16-year-old team which will be in the national spotlight.
Tyra said she was approached by coach Stacy Lamb following her eighth-grade year, when she came off the bench for the Lady Cougar varsity. Lamb wanted her to play for him that year, but Tyra was reluctant to do so, thinking it was too much for her to cope with. But she decided to do it this year and it has paid off for both her and the Blast.
The Blast has played numerous games already this season, with a lot of three-game days on the weekends. Playing against teams from Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee, they won a pair of Super-Regional tournaments, one in Cincinnati and the other in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, to qualify for the national tourney, which will run from July 3 through July 10.
Tyra said her team is “loaded,” featuring this season's Third Region Player of the Year, Jenae Howard, from Owensboro, and Louisville Fern Creek's Monique Reed. Those two players have already made commitments to play for the University of Louisville's Lady Cards.
Tyra said she comes off the bench for the Blast, but has no problems with her role on the team.
“I love just sitting on the bench and watching them play,” she said. “They are so good. Playing with them makes me a better player.”
That is good news for the Lady Cougars and head coach Roy King, who will be relying heavily on Tyra in the upcoming basketball season. She will be the only returning starter from last year's team that finished with a 25-6 record.
News-Gazette Sports Reporter