Christa Brown signs

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 24, 2012

On hand to witness Christa Brown (front, center) sign a four-year scholarship with Freed-Hardeman are (front row, l. to r.) South Panola head coach Ralph Stallings, Brown and mother Regina Morgan; (back row) student assistant Mike Milligan, Freed-Hardeman head coach Dale Neal, Danny Griffin, James Jones, Dennis Hoskins and Freed-Hardeman assistant coach Jana Pearson. The Panolian photo by Angie Ledbetter

Brown becomes first girl from SP to sign 4-year basketball scholarship

By Angie Ledbetter

South Panola Lady Tiger basketball point guard Christa Brown signed a national letter of intent to play at Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, Tenn. on a full paid four-year scholarship.

Brown is the first female from South Panola to sign at a four year university to play basketball according to Head Coach Ralph Stallings.

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Brown finished the 2012 season ranked No. 2 in the state and No. 17 in the nation in shooting by In 17 games she scored 498 points averaging 29.3 points per game, made 182 of 272 field goals averaging 66 percent.

Freed-Hardeman is a small private institution associated with Churches of Christ with 2,043 students enrolled.

Known for its basketball program the maroon and gold Lady Lions are currently ranked No. 3 in the Transouth Athletic Conference with a 12-2 record and a 24-4 overall record.

Head Basketball Coach Dale Neal is in 18th season at Freed-Hardeman and holds a 444-151 record. He’s been coaching for 27 years all together. On February 13, 2012 he got his 700th career win. He finished last year with a 27-9 record.

In 2011 and 2008 the Lady Lions made the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Fab Four, the NAIA Elite Eight in 2002, 2005 and 2008 and NAIA Sweet Sixteen in 2009 and 2010.

Brown said playing basketball in college has always been her dream.

“This has always been a dream of mine and it means a lot because I always thought I’d play for a Juco College and not a four year university. I’ve worked very hard to get to this point and I hope the girls left behind will see it can be done and follow me.”

Stallings said this was a very special day for the basketball program at South Panola.

“It was great for not only her but for our school and the girl’s basketball program. I think it paves a way for the younger kids that they can get a four year scholarship if they put in the effort and work.”

“I’ve had a lot of players to come through but I think Christa is one of the hardest workers that I’ve had. She never settles for what she’s done. In a game the night before she might have had 30 points but the next day in practice she’s working just as hard as she did the day before trying to improve on her skills.”
Regina Morgan said it was an emotional day for her.

“When I saw Christa sitting at the table with Mr. James Jones, Mr. Danny Griffin and Mr. Dennis Hoskins it was very emotional. They stepped in not only with Christa but with rest of my children as a father figure. I’ve always loved the Boy’s and Girl’s Club and I don’t want to exclude the school district because it’s been a lot of good people that have helped me to raise them. “

“This day means I’ve finally accomplished what I set out to for Christa. It was hard raising the six children by myself after their father passed away when Christa was in the fifth grade but the Lord has always put people there. I’ve prayed about this day and I think Freed-Hardeman is going to be what we’re looking for.”

Freed Hardeman Head Coach Dale Neal said it was neat for South Panola to have a girl signing.

“We’re thrilled to be getting Christa with the quality of individual she is and the quality of player she is.”
“Character is big for us, talent is huge of course and right next to it is the type of individual that they are and she matches both of those really well for us.”

“Christa can bring to the team her quickness, court awareness, court demeanor and just so many things we like about her. We like the way she handles the ball, the way she can blow by people with her speed and a lot of things she has going for her that will help us.”