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March 28 declared 'Lady Bears Day'

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The Mt. Juliet Middle School Lady Bears basketball state champions were honored Monday at the Mt. Juliet City Commission meeting where Mt. Juliet Mayor Ed Hagerty read a proclamation declaring that day, March 28, "Lady Bears Day" in Mt. Juliet. The team's

MJ City Commission high-fives state champs

It's very rare a special day is named after a sports team, however, by proclamation, Monday was designated "Mt. Juliet Lady Bears Day" by the Mt. Juliet City Commission.

A proud Mt. Juliet Middle School Coach Rick Johnson and his 13 Lady Bear basketball players were honored at a special presentation. They gathered in chambers and were honored individually for their phenomenal 21-4 season and snagging the state championship this year.

After the presentation, Johnson spoke with The Wilson Post about the season and next season's "game plan" with seven of his players graduating to Mt. Juliet High School and Coach Chris Fryer.

"I think this class is one of the most anticipated classes for Coach Fryer," Johnson said.

Johnson noted this team started the season 0-2.

"We lost our first two games on the road," he recalled. "It's a rough start and was a mental situation for the kids. But they responded favorably and were more demanding of themselves. We then went on to win the last 12 games and of course the others. We beat two teams that were otherwise undefeated; Hunter Middle School and Coffee Junior High (by one point)."

The eight graduating onto MJHS are: Nevaeh Majors, Riley Austen, Hally Jones, Alyssa Williamson, Alyssa Costley, Aaliyah Frazer and Emma Jane Palmer.

"I will miss them tremendously," Johnson said. "It was a joy to have them and to work with them. They love to win as much as I do and I know they will continue to."

As far as the next season - the first game is Nov. 7 at Macon County - coach said two players are returning and the rest will be from the junior varsity squad.

"We are going to start anew and get the good ones on the floor," he said. "We will keep Coach Fryer supplied with great players. I know they are competitors. These up and comers have been practicing with the veterans, the best kids. They won't find any better competition they what we had in our gym."

Tryouts are May 12-13 and they will practice until the middle of June, and then have a short break.

"Actually, basketball season is about 10 months long," Johnson, noted.

Johnson has coached the MJMS Lady Bears 15 years.

Writer Laurie Everett can be contacted at

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