When talking about teams that have a serious shot to win a state title, more often than not those teams are loaded with experiences players. That is not the case for the Jim Ned Lady Indians, who have won 22 out of their first 23 games, with a roster almost completely filled with underclassmen.

“There’s only three upper classmen, so we’re kind of the underdog in that situation, but they’re young minds so you can mold them how you want to. So it’s important to do the right thing so that they follow you,” said Claire Graham.

Leading the charge for the Lady Indians is the only senior on the team, Claire Graham. Graham has played a major role for Jim Ned throughout her high school career, and after she graduates, she is coming to the Key City to play for the ACU Wildcats.

“I’ve always been told, be where your feet are. So I’m just trying to take advantage of this time,” said Graham.

While Graham is doing everything she can to be laser focused on bringing a state title back to Tuscola in her final season at Jim Ned, the fact that she has committed to play college basketball for a division one program like ACU, serves as inspiration for all of the other girls on the team.

“Just being able to see her go D1 is just huge for me, because that’s been my dream since I was like 3-years-old. So just seeing her being able to reach that goal is huge for every single one of us, because we know we can reach it, because she is reaching it,” said Ashlynn Galvin.

“It’s really a true blessing to let her work ethic, that was an individual thing for her, kind of bleed over into the team aspect, and I think ACU is going to get a great player, and they’re going to get an even better person,” said Head Coach Hunter Cooley.

Cooley believes Graham’s ability to set an example for the underclassmen on the roster has already had a major influence on this years team, and has the potential to set the stage for many successful seasons to come.

“Next year is going to be huge for us because we’re going to have one senior graduate and we’ll have the rest of the team to hold onto. So it’s really cool to start getting that molding together, but we really want to focus right here, on this year, because we want to take Claire to state,” said Galvin.

The Jim Ned Lady Indians next game is at home on Friday at 4:00pm, against the Grape Creek Lady Eagles. Jim Ned is 11-0 at home so far this season.