The Florida School for the Deaf girls basketball team was invited to Clerc Classic XX in Indianapolis, the biggest high school basketball tournament for deaf schools. The Dragons (7-2) will face California School for the Deaf-Riverside on Thursday afternoon.
Wednesday will be the first time Oliva Brown boards an airplane. For J’Myra Harris, Wednesday morning’s jaunt from Jacksonville won’t even be the first time her athletic adventures at the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind have led her to take flight.
Both girls will represent the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind girls basketball team at the Clerc Classic in Indianapolis this weekend. The invitation-only tournament features eight of the best deaf basketball teams from across the country. Clerc Classic XX is the first time the Dragons girls and boys basketball teams have been invited.
FSDB will send its girls basketball team, boys basketball team and cheerleading squad to the campus of the Indiana School for the Deaf for the tournament. All three will compete, but it’s the girls team that finished 20-6 that opened the door for the other programs to also head to Indiana’s capital city.
“We have prepared our skills and improved from last year,” said Brown, a sophomore guard who averages a team-leading 16.5 points per game. “We have been the foundation.”
No. 3 seeded FSDB opens the three-day tournament on Thursday afternoon against California School for the Deaf-Riverside.
″(I’m looking forward to) winning the championship and showing other teams that we just as good of basketball players as they are,” Brown said.
The Dragons return every player from last year’s team that won 20 games for the first time in decades, claimed the 2nd Mason-Dixon Schools for the Deaf Athletic Association Championship and won a game in the FHSAA District 2-4A tournament.
Joy Moers, the third-year coach of the Dragons, said she, Athletic Director Donna Johnson, boys basketball coach Eric LeFors and others in the school’s administration reached out to school president Jeanne Prickett for her permission to participate. Prickett granted the request. The next step was to wait and hope an invitation would arrive.
It did in early February 2019 as the Dragons were wrapping up the season.