The Jo Byrns Lady Devils won their third District 9-A championship in a row Tuesday night with a four-set victory over Waverly.
“We didn’t play quite as well as we have been,” head coach Mary Miller said. “We played well enough to win… They still managed to figure out a way to finish off the win. It was not quite as pretty a win as you would like, but still a win nonetheless.”
This is Miller’s fourth season as the head coach of the Lady Devils. Her team is having a spectacular year, defeating every team on their schedule. She believes her team is where they are today because of the higher levels of instruction and competition.
“Having consistency, having a little more discipline, kind of taking them and getting them where they can get, a little higher level of instruction,” Miller said.
Jo Byrns has faced AA schools Springfield, White House Heritage, Greenbrier and White House and defeated them all. Before Miller got there, the competition and the team’s confidence was not that high.
“I don’t know that they had ever had that kind of competition before,” Miller said. “To me, if we’re going to be the best at our level, you play higher level teams, better teams. The better teams you play, the better it makes you.”
The Lady Devils now head to the Region 5-A semifinals where they were eliminated last season. Miller has confidence in her team and thinks they will be a tough out if they are on their game.
“If they come out and play our best game and the way we know how to play, we’ll be pretty tough to beat,” Miller said. “A lot of times I think it’s just, with our school, we haven’t been to those higher levels very often, so I think sometimes that’s intimidating that you’re coming against teams that are constantly making it to the next level and moving on even further.”
“We’ve got a good team. We’ve got a lot of good talent. When they play together and play their best game, we’re a tough team to come up against.”
Brooke Dowlen, Reese Payne and Grayson Bryant were named to the all-district team. Dowlen was also named the District 9-A MVP. Julia Arms, Noelle Lancaster and Korey Harris were named to the all-tournament team.
The Lady Devils will play Hickman County Tuesday, Oct. 13, at 5:30 p.m. at Harpeth High School for a chance to advance to sectionals.