The 2017-2018 basketball season for the Alice Lloyd College Lady Eagles was extremely successful. The team finished as champions of the River State Conference Western Division and was the runner-up in the conference tournament, which gave them a bid to play in the NAIA National Tournament for the first time in school history. In addition to the team’s accomplishments, John Mills was honored as Coach of the Year in the conference. What Coach Mills and the Lady Eagles achieved this season is truly record breaking and a season that all Eagle fans are proud of.
Coach John Mills, a native of Inez, Kentucky, and an alumnus of the College is humbled to receive the Coach of the Year Award. The award was given to him by his peers in recognition of his outstanding coaching abilities, but Coach Mills gives all the credit to his team. For thirty-five years he has been coaching basketball and in the collegiate arena, he has almost equally coached men and women. Coach Mills has been coaching for so long for two reasons, first is his love of the game saying, “I can’t think of anything I would rather do than be around a basketball court.” The second reason is because of his eighth-grade coach, Gus Hamilton, who did not know anything about basketball, but he knew and believed in his players and wanted to give them an opportunity to play the sport. The lessons Coach Mills learned under Gus Hamilton are the ones he implements with his team stating that his goal is to, “Develop and cultivate the person in the player not the player in the person.”
Several members of the Lady Eagles’ team were also recognized for their skills on and off the court. Senior twin guards Kayla and Miranda Wilson both earned their 1,000th point as well as several other notable awards. The Wilson twins were members of the NCCAA All-Mideast Region Team as well as the All-River States Conference Women’s Basketball Teams with Kayla being on the first team and Miranda being on the second. Kayla Wilson also earned the NAIA and NCCAA Scholar-Athlete Awards and the NAIA Champion of Character Award. The Wilson twins have made a significant impact on the Lady Eagles’ basketball team, and they will be missed.
However, the success of the team came about because every member made some contribution such as freshman Haley Hall who led the team with 14.47 points per game. Also, freshman Alex Clifton was ranked sixteenth in the NAIA Division Two in blocks averaging 1.8 blocks per game and had a total of 51 blocks for the season. When new players come together to play it usually takes time for them to adjust, but from the beginning, the new team clicked and begin to work hard to become the best team they could be. Coach Mills commented on his team by saying, “My players worked hard outside of the practice which made them better players in the game.” The 2017-2018 basketball season has been a memorable one that will never be forgotten.