Lanett senior Jackson still leads team after season-ending injury

Published 11:13 pm Friday, January 25, 2019

LANETT — Lanett senior Ambria Jackson was prepared to have the best basketball season of her career. 

Coming off of a summer with her AAU team, the Alabama Hawks, Jackson had more eyes on her game than ever.

“She had a cheerleading offer from Huntingdon College and was getting ready to see if she could get time up in track,” Ambria’s father, Alvin, said. “[Track] Coach [Terrance] Price was planning on getting her where she needed to be.”

Email newsletter signup

Jackson missed a couple of games early in the season due to a lingering knee injury that she suffered during a holiday tournament in Columbus. Then on Jan. 4 in the final minutes of a home game against LaFayette, Jackson drove along the baseline and took an awkward spill on the court. Jackson laid on the court for a few moments before being helped back to the locker room.

“I was really hurt,” Jackson said. “I just didn’t want it to be anything bad. I was hoping that it would be something minor, but it was something serious.”

After having no results from x-rays, Jackson did an MRI and found out that she tore her ACL, an injury that ended her high school career.

“I was crying,” Jackson said. “The first thing I did was text [girls head basketball] coach Charlie [Williams] and told him.”

Since receiving the news, Jackson has still attended every cheerleading and basketball practice. She still cheers with her squad in the stands during varsity boys games, and she still believes that the girls basketball team can win the state championship this year.

“She’s been a blessing in disguise,” Williams said. “Her love, energy and maturity, especially with the younger players, has made her my Most Valuable Panther.”

Being one of two seniors on Lanett’s girls team, Jackson said her leadership and experience is more important than ever for the Panthers.

“During timeouts, I motivate the team and give them encouraging words,” she said. “I think they take [my words] more serious because I come to all the practices, and I’m still with them even though I’m not playing. I’m dedicated to basketball. I’ve been playing basketball all of my life.”

Jackson said college coaches are still interested in talking to her about scholarship opportunities. 

“I had some college coaches looking at me,” she said. “It’s probably difficult for them to look at my film now since I’ve torn my ACL, but I still communicate with them. It made me feel good because they still feel like I’m enough even after my injury.”

Although her playing days as a Panther are over, Jackson is still solidifying her legacy in a different role at Lanett.

“I want to be remembered as a leader and a motivator,” she said. “[Those traits] came from my parents. They taught me how to be a leader. I talked to my dad after the injury, and he told me that I needed to be strong. Even though I was hurt, nobody needs to see me down, so I try to stay up and be a motivator for my team.”