BROOKLET — For the first time in her high school career, Southeast Bulloch’s Jasmine Roberts is on a basketball team that is striking fear into opponents.
Roberts had a breakout season last winter as she averaged nearly 20 points per game in leading the Lady Yellow Jackets to a fourth place finish in Region 1-AAA and their first state playoff appearance in over a decade. This time around, she’s looking to make even more of a splash.
“I really think that we can do even better this year,” Roberts said. “We probably have more size and speed than we’ve ever had before. I think we got a lot of confidence last season and now we know what we can do.”
Anyone taking in an SEB game over the last few years is perfectly aware of what Roberts can do. Even as an underclassman, Roberts was a key cog in the Yellow Jacket offense as she was constantly slashing through defenders and constantly hitting big shots when the team needed her.
Years of hard-nosed play and flailing defenders finally built up to a milestone earlier this season.
A bucket early in the Jackets’ second game of the season against Johnson of Savannah on Dec. 4, put Roberts over the 1,000-point mark for her career. Roberts has hardly slowed down since — helping SEB to a 4-2 overall record and a 3-1 mark in region play — but admitted that the milestone was looming large in her head to begin the season.
“I wanted to get to 1,000 pretty bad,” Roberts said. “That has been a goal for me since I first got here. I was relieved to finally get there, but I was also really proud that I was able to achieve what I set out to do.”
The focus of Roberts and her SEB teammates now falls on what is sure to be another difficult run through the region schedule. Region rivals Beach, Savannah High and Tattnall County — which SEB defeated in a 41-40 thriller last week — will give the Jackets tough tests leading up to the region tournament, where only the final four teams remaining will advance to state.
“We know that we can’t let up now,” SEB coach Johnnie Miller said. “Last year was great, but now we have to take the next step.”
That’s where senior captain Roberts really starts to shine.
“We lost some talent after last year,” Roberts said. “(Fellow senior) Philicia Batton and I really wanted to take it upon ourselves to step up and help lead the team. I know that we have to do more if we’re going to keep winning.”
It would seem unwise to bet against Roberts’ promises to achieve as everything she’s been associated with at SEB has resulted in success.
In addition to her dominance on the basketball court, Roberts was one of the region’s top base running threats in softball this fall and will return to the track in the spring where she advanced to the state meet in three different events last season.
Roberts’ success proves he dedication and determination in any competition, but she also knows that time is running out to continue racking up the accolades.
“I know this is my last year,” Roberts said. “That kind of puts a little more pressure on me. There’s a lot that I want us to be able to do. But I also want to enjoy it. It’s my last season, so I’m having a lot of fun with it and just trying my hardest every night.”
Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9404.