The Tift County Lady Blue Devils are having a great season with a long winning streak and unbeaten region record.
The Lady Blue Devils have managed to stay focused while their head coach has been in a battle for her life.
No one is happier with Tift County's 14 game winning streak than Lady Blue Devils head coach Julie Conner.
The winning is some welcome news and a welcome distraction.
"It has kept my spirit up just being here with the girls. I have enjoyed being around them. It has kept my mind off of things. I am so thankful for basketball," said Julie Conner.
Julie Conner was diagnosed with a malignant melanoma in her left groin back in the fall. She underwent a lymph node dissection.
With Conner undergoing her treatment, assistant coach Erick Willis took over the team.
"Her expectations and my expectations are the same. When she stepped out for a while, we tried to have nothing changed. It is testament to the program 6-12 where everybody is on the same page," said Erick Willis.
Julie Conner returned to the Lady Blue Devils bench in early January.
Her players are glad their coach is back.
Her presence is an inspiration for them to give it their all.
"Sometimes we pick up our teammates and we see her on the sideline. Knowing that she has been out and stuff. So, when see her, we play harder for her," said senior Brakia Bate man.
On the week before the region tournament, Julie Conner will begin an experimental treatment that is aimed to make sure her cancer never returns.
"It is actually considered NED-no evidence of disease. because you are never really cancer free. I am very thankful I know the Lord has taken care of me. This is just preventative so I can see my little ones grow up," said Julie Conner.
Conner also hopes to watch her Lady Blue Devils win a region and maybe a state title this season.
Copyright 2013 WALB. All rights reserved.
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