By SCOTT TYLER

H-P Sports Editor



Palestine senior Jessica Faggett learned early on in her high school basketball career just how important defense was.

That knowledge and understanding of defense paid off for Faggett, who was the leader of a Palestine team that had one of the top defenses in the area.

For her accomplishments on the defensive side of the ball and her leadership on and off the court, Faggett has been named the Dogwood Circle Defensive Player of the Year.

“Ever since 10th grade I knew I had a big advantage on defense,” Faggett said. “I just wanted to do whatever I could to get the ball on defense so we could go down and score.

“I learned that defense wins games.”

Palestine head coach Andy Snider knew Faggett was going to be his team’s defensive spark plug.

“She prides herself on her defense,” Snider said. “She knew defense was more her aspect of the game and she felt more comfortable with a defensive role.

“And when she did score, it came off her defense.”

Faggett averaged over two steals a game, along with over six points a contest, and was named the District 21-3A Defensive Player of the Year.

On a Palestine team that allowed only 33 points a game during district, Faggett was the instigator on defense.

“Our defense worked through her,” Snider said. “The more focus she had on defense, everybody else read off of her.

“She stepped up and put pressure on the ball and everybody fell in sync behind her.”

In Palestine’s zone defense this year, Faggett played at the top of the key and her responsibility was to guard from the top of the key to the elbows.

“I liked the zone more than man defense because it was easy to cover that amount of space,” Faggett said.

In the zone defense, Faggett had a knack of picking off passes at the top of the key, which would usually result in fast-break opportunities.

“Jessica anticipated and read the passing lanes well,” Snider said. “She stayed active for the whole game and she was quick to points.”

As a senior, Faggett became one of the leaders of the Ladycats this season.

“It was one of those roles that grew on her,” Snider said. “The team fed off of Jessica and she was the one who orchestrated all the different abilities of this team.”

Snider knows he is losing a special player who has been on the varsity team since her sophomore year.

“She brought a lot of charisma, energy and leadership to the team,” Snider said. “She is one of those players who teammates will follow.”

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Scott Tyler may be contacted via e-mail at styler@palestineherald.com

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