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February 7, 2014

Byrd embraces role as team leader

DUNCAN — Although Duncan junior Jordan Byrd might not be the prototypical athlete, she believes in her role as a team leader on the girls basketball team.

“I’m a very vocal leader,” Byrd said. “I’m the first one to say ‘good job’ to somebody. I want to be the person the younger girls look up to.”

Demon coach Grant Givens said Byrd’s leadership is one of the many assets she brings to the team.

“She’s brings a good spirit to the team,” he said. “She’s always leading the cheers when she’s on the bench, even leading them in practice.”

Givens said Byrd understands her importance as a role player on the Demons, a position that not every player may accept.

“She’s a player who can play different positions, which is invaluable to a basketball team,” he said. “If we have a guard who is foul trouble, she can come in for them off the bench, and if it’s a post player, she can go in there too. It’s a real asset to have.”

Byrd maintains this positive outlook, even after going through three different coaches in her three years playing for Duncan High School. She admitted that it was tough, but her love of basketball and wanting to be with her friends keeps her involved. Her two best friends, Paityn Bower and Delaney Mitchell, also play for the Lady Demons.

“It’s fun getting to play with my best friends.” she said.

She added she has learned much from past seasons and expects the team will only get better.

“Last year, it was definitely a journey and a growing season, but it was fun,” Byrd said. “This year is more about getting into the (swing) of things. We are a young team, but we will be very good when we get older and more mature.

“I’m really looking forward to that.”

Byrd has played basketball since the fourth grade. She has also played volleyball and competed in the rodeo. Byrd opted to focus on basketball and rodeo when she entered high school and has stuck with basketball this year. She plans to compete in volleyball and rodeo her senior year. Byrd said that, in her senior year, she wants to be involved in as many activites as possible.

Givens said Byrd will be counted upon a lot next season.

“As of right now, she will be our only senior,” he said. “Her responsibilities will be enormous. She is someone who will be extremely valuable.”

He added Byrd’s role this season will only make her a better player.

“By having that role this year, hopefully it will help her next year when she gets more minutes,” he said.

Although the Lady Demons haven’t won many games, Byrd remains optimistic about the future.

“Hopefully with our coach staying here, he will know what we can and can’t do and can really work with us,” she said. “It will be interesting to see how we grow.”

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