S.F.A.'s Gaines stands alone

By Ryan Peterson - bio | email

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Jessica Gaines is a survivor.

"I came in with five people when I started," said Gaines about her freshman year.  "I'm the only one left."

The Ladyjacks senior class is small in number, one.   But it's heavy in accomplishment.

"She graduated in three years," said S.F.A. Head Coach Lee Ann Riley.  "She's in grad school and never complains.  She Didn't want anything handed to her.  I think that's why she's the one still here."

Gaines' career stats won't blow you away.  Scoring is not her job.  Gaines is a leader and role model.

"Jess does it by example," said Riley.  "She's not a loud kid, but she's so grounded. That's a tribute to her parents."

"My role is to calm our team down," said Gaines.  "To be the one to say we can do this. If we're up 20 or down 20, I'm always going to be the one saying it's okay."

Gaines already sounds like a coach.  She plans on being one.

"She'll be very good just because of her personality," said Riley.  "Jess is very caring. As a coach if you think it's all about you, you can't be very successful."

"I feel like coach Riley has put that in my role by saying you don't always have to be the loudest one but just lead by example," said Gaines.  "I think that will help me be successful in the future."

Coaching can wait.  Gaines' greatest memory was playing in the N.C.A.A. Tournament as a freshman. She'd like one more trip.

"It would be a Cinderella story for me," said Gaines with a smile.  "A great ending to a great story."

Jessica Gaines is your 'Jack of the Week.'