Denika making her presence felt

As of Thursday, March 30, 2023


BASKETBALL standout Denika Lightbourne.

#DENIKA Lightbourne has left an indelible mark on Tallulah Falls. Since her freshman year on the basketball court, she’s been that player that has turned heads. She was always destined to shine, and she’ll be soon taking her talents to NCAA Division I Dayton University as a member of the Lady Flames women’s basketball team.

#In signing her letter of intent, Lightbourne became the first Tallulah Falls basketball player to go D-I. Her senior season was nothing short of sensational. She set a single-season scoring record of (523) points, topping the next four spots on the list set by Nyah Williams. Lightbourne finished second to Williams in career points (1,494), and became one of just two players (with Williams) to be a 1,000-point, 500-rebound member.

#Lightbourne, a 1st Team All-State selection, 3-time 1st Team All-Region honouree, and one time 2nd Team member, finished her prep career third all-time in rebounds (634), and is the all-time leader in assists (311), blocks (52), and steals (293). She tied Williams’ mark of most points in single game with 40 on a January 2023 game against Commerce.

#Lightbourne tallied six 30-point games in her final season, marking the most by any player in school history. Furthermore, she had a total of 13 career games with 25 or more points.

#Tallulah Falls has helped shape the future for Lightbourne.

#“Playing for TFS really made me grow as a player,” says Lightbourne. “I have experienced different types of teams, work ethic and chemistry and it made me realise the type of people I want to be around and the type of leader I would like to be. I am grateful for this journey because I never would’ve believed in myself as much as I do now without the help of all my coaches and teammates.”

#Lightbourne often took an active role in leadership rather than vocally early on, though she enhanced the latter part during her final season at TFS.

#“I would say I was more of a quiet leader,” adds Lightbourne. “I would rather pull you to the side and have a conversation, but now I would consider myself more vocal and outgoing. Mainly because I’m expected to come out of that comfort zone. I try to let everyone be comfortable, learn how to take criticism, and just want to get better and remain focused while having fun.”

#While Lightbourne has always been a standout since her 2019-20 freshman season, the players around her have helped her become the player she is now. “This year my teammates have really pushed me,” says Lightbourne. “Although they might not think so, I owe it all to them for helping me become the player I am today.”

#Lightbourne has her place atop almost every statistical category, but more importantly is her team’s success.

#Since her first game at Tallulah Falls, Lightbourne has been a part of four consecutive state playoff teams, including an Elite 8 run and Region Championship in 2021-22, a Sweet 16 run in ’19-20, and two other first round appearances.

#In each of her four seasons, the Lady Indians were at one point state ranked, peaking as high as #6 in 2021-22. The teams have been four of the top six scoring units in school history and have won (56) games.

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