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A different set of Devils

Connie Dale and Megan Whittle, as the only two seniors on the Verbena girls basketball team, decided this year was going to be different.

And only one month into the season, the Red Devils have already done something they haven’t done in the three years Dale and Whittle have played on the varsity level: they won a game. Verbena defeated Wadley, 40-31, on Dec. 6.

“Everybody looks down on Verbena; they think we’re not good at anything,” Whittle said, explaining the motivation to change the program’s recent fortunes. “I’m a senior. It means a lot to me.”

The attitude and leadership provided by Dale and Whittle has been one of the reasons for success, first-year coach Jennifer Ingram said. Another reason is that Verbena this season puts a talented team on the floor.

The squad is especially strong down low, where junior Imma Sanders and freshman transfer Marquiska Deramus are both taller than 6 feet and so give the Devils a decided height advantage against most competition.

Sanders was the team’s leading scorer last year, and Deramus is first in the points category this season with more than 17 per game.

Ingram admitted an initial concern that Deramus’ role in the offense could negatively affect Sanders, but that has not happened.

“[Deramus] fits in like she’s been here for years,” Ingram said. “She has helped our team a lot. She makes a big impression on the court.”

And the seniors, with only winning on their minds, aren’t likely to let the team become distracted.

“We’re a lot closer than our teams have been in a while,” Dale said. “We all work together really well.”

The next goal is having a successful season, which will require more victories. But that first win was the tallest hurdle, and much confidence has come from clearing it.

“Now everybody knows we’re capable of it,” Dale said.