Woodland High's Leah Strain picks JSU
by Brandon Miller
Aug 09, 2013 | 5233 views |  0 comments | 30 30 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Leah Strain led Woodland to a Class 2A state championship
Leah Strain led Woodland to a Class 2A state championship
Woodland High senior Leah Strain’s decision to commit to Jacksonville State is “kind of a long story.”

It goes back to when the all-state basketball star's team was playing Lanett in the Class 2A finals of the Northeast Regional.

After the game was won, Strain posted a picture on Twitter of herself with her grandfather, who had recently died. In the picture, her grandfather was holding a Jacksonville State cup.

“One of my close friends commented and said, ‘Pictures capture a lot of memories, if you look closely at him you may get a tiny peek in to the future,’” Strain said. “That was kind of conformation.”

The commitment came Friday after Strain had been a few days removed from a busy summer of basketball, mostly AAU. After discussing the decision with her family, the point guard made the announcement through Twitter.

"I’m relieved, I’m happy,” she said. “I’m just so happy that I finally know where I’m going and don’t have to worry anymore.”

First-year JSU coach Rick Pietri and assistant Eric Wise, formerly at South Alabama, were recruiting the Woodland standout before they moved to Calhoun County. Strain said, “They’ve always been true.”

“First of all I was kind of leaning toward to Jacksonville State anyway, but they have really believed in me since Day 1 and truly believed that I could play college basketball,” she added. “I’m just excited to take my game to the next level. I’m just happy I have the opportunity.”

As a junior, Strain led Woodland to winning the Class 2A state championship while averaging 21.5 points a game, making 60 percent of her shots from the field. She added 5.2 assists and 7.0 rebounds a game.

Before Strain returns to the court to attempt another run at a state championship, she’ll spend her fall playing volleyball and as the co-captain of the cheerleading squad. Girls basketball practice will start after her father and coach, Larry Strain, finishes the season coaching the school's football team.

Brandon Miller covers prep sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3575 or follow him on Twitter @bmiller_star
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