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Lewis bringing joy, production to Lady Coyotes

Sometimes the best way home is to follow a friend.

Eva LewisThat’s what Eva Lewis did when she transferred from Connors State University in Oklahoma to play basketball at Weatherford College. She had become friends with Lady Coyote assistant coach Brittnie Haley, who was also previously at Connors State last season.

“Brittnie is the main reason I came here,” said Lewis, who is from Tulsa. “I was upset she left Connors, and then when I got my release she called me. Other schools were looking at me, but I just wanted to work with her again.”

Lewis said with all due respect to the new coach at Connors State, the chemistry just didn’t mesh. Believing she didn’t fit in any longer, she opted to leave, and when Haley called it was the perfect situation.

She did, however, have to wait until January to join WC on the court. But since she has, her impression has been felt in a big way. In the regular season, she averaged 14.4 points and 7.9 rebounds per game for the Lady Coyotes, who are headed to the Region V Tournament in Lubbock beginning March 8.

Lewis has been especially good lately. She has scored double-digit points in her past 11 consecutive games, with double-doubles (points and rebounds) in three of her last four games.

“She’s doing exactly what we wanted from her and what we thought she could do,” Lady Coyotes Coach Bob McKinley said. “I realized when we brought her in she’d be a great addition. Talent-wise, she has what it takes to play at the next level.”

Haley said she likes Lewis’ game for not just what she brings to the court as a player, but also as someone who inspires teammates. She’s often as much a cheerleader as she is a player.

“She can be in practice, in the locker room, she just likes to be a hype person,” Haley said. “Practice can be dead quiet, and suddenly she’s shouting, ‘Let’s go!’

“I love her to death. What am I going to do without her next year?”

Lewis said she believes one of her key roles is to maintain happiness for herself and the team.

“I want to bring joy. You can’t have too much happy,” she said. “I feel like if you’re having fun, everything is going to work out well.”

Lewis said it wasn’t just her friendship with Haley that brought her to the Lady Coyotes. She likes McKinley’s sense of humor, and also how the legendary coach with more than 900 career wins gets the most out of his players, something she believes will help her play in a larger program.

“Bob’s a funny guy, but he’s also serious about the game,” she said. “And he’s pushed me to where I needed to be pushed.”

She also said sitting out the first half of the season pushed her.

“It made me want to go harder when I came back,” Lewis said.

And though she isn’t sure where she’ll play next season – and she does realize she will be leaving Haley again – Lewis is ready for whatever is next. She said her time as a Lady Coyote has done a lot to prepare her for that step.

“I’m grateful to Coach Bob for bringing me here. It’s like I’ve known him for years,” Lewis said. “And wherever I go I will always be friends with Coach B (Brittnie).”

by Rick Mauch