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Athlete of the Week: Ciara Jackson

(Editor's note: Throughout the local high school sports season, Culpeper Times will again recognize an “Athlete of the Week” from one of the sports on a rotating basis. This week we feature girls basketball. At the end of the year the Times will select a male and female athlete at both Culpeper County and Eastern View high schools and recognize them as “Athlete of the Year” at their respective schools.)

Senior Ciara Jackson scores plenty of points as a shooting guard for the Eastern View High School basketball team, but her coach, Mike McCombs, said defense is really her forte.

“She is leading the team in scoring, but it's on defense where she really excels,” McCombs said. “She does a good job getting rebounds, filling the lanes and getting us started in transition.”

Jackson is one of the key reasons the Cyclones are 22-2 for the year, 11-1 in the Battlefield District. They play Courtland tonight for the Battlefield District title
.
“She has been a three-year varsity player after transferring in from Highland and she has steadily improved,” McCombs said. “She has really stepped up this year to become a senior leader.”

Jackson said she started playing hoops in the Culpeper Youth Basketball program when she was 11 years old.

“I love that it is fast paced,” she said. “I used to play softball, but basketball is totally different.”

Jackson said she has improved her shooting range this year.
“I like the three-point shot,” she said, smiling. “But I love defense, too. I love getting after it.”

The personable senior lists government as her favorite class this year, but said she wants to go on to college and major in broadcast journalism.

“I want to be like Erin Andrews,” she said, citing the Fox Sports broadcaster.

Jackson lists traveling as one of her passions, saying she'd love to go to Las Vegas. Her favorite pro basketball team is the Boston Celtics, but she admires the ability of senior guard Kelly Farris of the 2010 national women's basketball champion University of Connecticut.

“She can score, but I like how she really gets after it on the defensive end,” Jackson said.

As for being an identical twin?

“It's the best,” Jackson said. “We are so close. We have every class together this year. We both want to go to the same college. She plays guard, too, but also small forward.”

NOTE:
Culpeper County High School coach Katie Shaw nominated junior guard Ansley Graft.

“She's played varsity for three years and she is also an awesome student,” Shaw said. “She takes AP classes, is in the E-squared program and is one of our captains.”

Shaw said that Graft has missed a number of games this season due to illness.

“It really says something when someone who has missed so many games is still one of our leading scorers. That's impressive. This year she has improved her ball handling and she is driving to the basket a lot better. I'm glad I'll have her back next year.”

“I like playing on this team and I love encouraging everyone to keep their heads up,” Graft said of her role as captain.

The 5-foot-7 Graft said her strength is shooting.

“My defense is good, but not as good as I'd like it to be,” she said.

Human anatomy and chemistry are Graft's two favorite classes this year and she plans to go on to a four-year college after graduation in 2014.



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