Last season, Desirae Jackson admits to being a little intimidated by the older players on the Douglas County team.
As a freshman, she was playing with some experienced veterans that were talented enough to earn college scholarships.
Jackson played mostly on the JV team but did get some minutes on the varsity level as the Tigers won a second straight region title and advanced to the quarterfinals of the state tournament.
She played in nine games and averaged only 1.9 points per game.
“It was intimidating trying to get to know the team,” Jackson said. “I’m trying to do more now to help this team. I’m learning to play looser. My main goal is to help this team.”
Jackson, a 5-foot-5 guard, is doing her part to help the Tigers, as they are now 3-3 overall and 3-0 in the Region 5-AAAAAA standings.
She is averaging 11.2 points per game, which is the second-most on the team and 2.2 rebounds. She had a career-high 20 points in last week’s win over Alexander.
The past two games, Jackson has had scoring of 14 and 20 points in wins over Langston Hughes and Alexander, respectively.
With Jackson helping provide some outside scoring, it has eased some pressure off Amari Robinson.
The junior is averaging 24.2 points and 10.2 rebounds to lead the Tigers.
“Desirae has come slog way as far as confidence,” Robinson said. “She is not that shy freshman anymore. She is definitely shooting the ball with more confidence.”
As Jackson and her teammates become comfortable in their new roles, the Tigers have seen an increase in victory.
Douglas County will take on South Paulding on Friday in a region contest.
Gone from last season’s region-championship team is county player of the year Arsula Clark along with backcourt mate Taylor Donelson. Also graduated from the team that went 26-4 last season is Ashanti Brown.
All three are now playing in college.
Clark is a starter at Louisiana-Monroe as a freshman point guard.
Jackson said she felt some pressure coming into the season in replacing some veteran players.
“I knew I had to push myself everyday in practice,” Jackson said. “There was pressure there in not letting anyone down on the team. This program has been winning and you don’t want to be the one that prevents it from continuing. I wanted to prove that I was worthy of starting on the varsity.”
And she has with each game.