PLAINVIEW – Finally, Wayland Baptist University basketball coach Will Flemons can breathe a sigh of relief. After struggling through a season where injuries plagued an already depleted Flying Queen roster, Flemons wrapped up his off-season acquisitions by signing Plainview’s Rebekah Sarchet on Monday.The signing day had been greatly anticipated as the Sarchet family was waiting for Rebekah’s mother, Donna, to return home after an extended hospital stay. Donna, an associate professor of business at Wayland, has been battling cancer for two years and has spent the last few weeks trying to adjust to new chemotherapy treatments. Although the fight has been an emotional roller coaster for the family, the group was all smiles on Monday.
“This is a good day,” Donna said when asked how she was feeling.
Sarchet’s signing marked the sixth and final signing for Flemons who has rebuilt the Flying Queens during the off season.
The Queens will have a bit of a West Texas flare when they take the court next fall. Sarchet will join former PHS teammate Elyse Newland, who returns for her junior year with the Queens. Newland played in all 28 games last season, averaging 3.7 points and nearly two assists in 16 minutes per game. The sophomore guard was playing with a torn ACL which has been repaired during the off season. Newland is expected to be at full strength next season.
Joining Newland and Sarchet will be a pair of standouts from Shallowater High School. Casey Burnett averaged 17 points and 6 rebounds as a senior at Shallowater last year. Coach Flemons actively recruited the 6-1 player who will be used at both forward positions next fall.
“She shoots the ball well and understands the game,” Flemons said. “And right now she has confidence and that is what you want from your freshmen. College basketball will kind of put you in your place pretty quick. If you don’t have a little backbone, you will get eaten up.”
Shallowater’s 6-foot-7 center Sara Broome will also play for Flemons. Broome is walking on with the Queens after spending two years at Southwest Baptist University. Broome didn’t see much action last season, playing in just seven games. Flemons said Broome has good hands and with a little work will provide a solid presence in the lane on both ends of the floor.
As well as having a good group of local talent, Flemons has signed several other players to fill out his roster. He inked a pair of girls from Harvest Christian Academy in Fort Worth. Jamie Graham, a 6-3 center/forward who averaged 16 points and 11 rebounds, was high on Flemons recruiting list. Edita Kresa, a 5-7 point guard, joined Graham for a weekend workout at Wayland. Kresa had originally verbally committed to Texas Christian, but wanted to play with Graham. After seeing her workout, Flemons snatched her up.
Two other six-footers will join the Queens. Miranda Damiano, a 6-0 forward from Anson, averaged 18 points, seven rebounds and six assists last season, and Audrey Hemminger, a 6-1 forward/center from Melrose, N.M., averaged 17 points and 11 rebounds.
Not only will Flemons’ crop of recruits bring additional size to the lineup, something that was sorely missing last season, but having a full 15-player roster will give the Queens an added dimension.
“We are going to push the tempo to our liking,” Flemons said. “I have been telling players that I want to press. But this past year we had something happen early to a couple of our post players and our guards were dropping like flies. Now, I can finally say we will press next year.”
The lack of players on the bench hurt the Queens last season. Wayland opened conference at Lubbock Christian University with only eight players on the bench. Newland gave a valiant effort despite being sick and having to leave the floor at one point. Starting point guard Nikki Wallace dislocated a finger and couldn’t play in the second half and another player fouled out, leaving only five players to finish the game.
Flemons is hoping he won’t have to go through that again.
“The whole year we were just plagued with injuries,” he said. “Then, finally a light clicked on in this thick skull … we have to get more players.”Flemons’ recruits will join Newland and Wallace as well as Vanita Wright, Christa Condron, Anastasia Okolo, Katie Donaldson and Miki Mays. Jordan Tarver from Monterey High School in Lubbock will walk on as well