BASKETBALL

Why Ellender girls basketball point guard Jamia Singleton values 'heart over height'

Chris Singleton
The Courier

Jamia “Mini” Singleton knows people underestimate her on the basketball court.

The Ellender junior point guard stands at 5-foot-2, but when the ball is in her hands, she is ready to prove a point.

“For me, size doesn’t matter,” Singleton said. “It’s heart over height. I’m just trying to get buckets and score.”

Singleton scored 16 points to help lead Ellender to a 59-41 win over Edna Karr in a LHSAA Class 4A state quarterfinal playoff game on Thursday. Ellender (22-11) advanced to the Class 4A state tournament and will play Bastrop (28-4) in the semifinal round next week at the University Center on the campus of Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond.

Ellender coach Javine Robinson said Singleton knows how to make opponents pay when they underestimate her due to size.

“When they see her, they just look at her size,” Robinson said. “They say, ‘There’s no way she can hang with the big dogs’ but she can play against anyone. I would go to war with her any day. Why? It’s because she’s going to give her all and she’s going to compete.

“When she touches the floor, she is a beast. It’s tough to stop her. We are glad she’s on our team and on our side.”

HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL PLAYOFFS:LHSAA basketball playoffs 2022: Girls regional scores and quarterfinal pairings

HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL:Houma area top performers in LHSAA high school basketball playoffs for week of Feb. 21

ELLENDER BASKETBALL:How Ellender uses the No. 6 basketball jersey to keep former coach Kenneth Dixon’s memory alive

Singleton said the Lady Patriots are hungry to win the school’s sixth state championship in school history and first since 2018. They lost in the second round of the Class 4A  last season.

“It was a big win for us knowing that we lost last year early,” said Singleton, who is averaging 20 points a game. “We just wanted it (Thursday) and we came out with the W. It’s not over. We are still on that mission to bring home that state championship. We just have to want it and keep going for it.”

Singleton helped lead Ellender to the state semifinals as a freshman in 2020, but they lost to eventual state champion LaGrange. She used it as a learning experience. 

Ellender's Jamia Singleton (4) stretches out for a loose ball during a Class 4A second-round playoff game against LaGrange on Feb. 21 in Houma.

“I learned not to dwell on stuff. You have to move on and just keep going after it," Singleton said. "We lost, but I wanted it. This year I’m going back harder and I’m trying to get it. This team is more dedicated. Everybody is on the same page. We all want the same thing. We are all good individually, but when we come together, nobody can stop us.”

Singleton said Ellender is also motivated to win a championship for former coach Kenneth Dixon, who died from complications of an aneurysm at age 70 on March 1, 2021. He led Ellender to five LHSAA state championships in 29 seasons.

“That’s all we think about,” Singleton said. “We want to do it for him. He’s looking down at us. He’s bringing us all the way … He would be very proud of us.”

Ellender senior Jasi Jenkins, who added 10 points in the win over Karr, said it has been amazing to watch how Singleton has grown as a team leader.

“She really is one of the best point guards and one of the best teammates,” Jenkins said. “When we make mistakes, she tells us to focus on next play. She’s a very well-rounded person. She is just extremely talented. She’s quick and her IQ for basketball is insane. Her vision on the court is strong. She’s an amazing player.”

Reach Chris Singleton at 985-857-2213 or chris.singleton@houmatoday.com and on Twitter @courierchris.