Without isn’t an option

Published 12:01 am Thursday, January 12, 2012

Life without basketball isn’t an option for Kristi Powell.


Powell, who is the mother of Pleasant Home senior Kaleb Powell, graduated from PHS in 1988, and will soon be going down memory lane tomorrow as the Eagles will play host to Geneva County for their homecoming.


Kristi played on the Lady Eagles basketball team from grades 7-12. From her freshman year until her senior year, the Lady Eagles made four straight appearances at the state finals.


In 1985, the Lady Eagles finished as the state runner up, and from 1986-88, PHS finished in the Final Four.


“We ate, slept and breathed basketball,” Kristi said. “It was great.”


Powell said she had former Florala girls coach Ronnie Driver as a coach for three years, and for her senior year, Straughn principal Shannon Driver served as her coach.


“You were very grounded in the fundamentals from the get-go,” she said about her time playing basketball at PHS. “One of their favorite sayings was ‘boards.’ I will always remember them saying ‘boards,’ and reminding us to hustle.”


While playing for the Lady Eagles, Powell was at the “wing” position, and on the rare occasion, would play at point guard.


After graduation, Powell attended LBWCC for two years and graduated from Troy University with a degree in education. She taught at Red Level for 11 years before making it back to PHS, where she is currently teaching.


“I wanted to get back down here for my boys, Kaleb and Jared,” she said. Jared graduated from PHS in 2007, is married and works at PowerSouth.


Kristi’s current involvement in the PHS basketball program includes being the clock keeper for several years, working behind the scenes for the Alabama-Florida Shootout and “whatever they need me to do.” Since 1984, her mother, Judy, has been keeping the books for the Eagles.


“I’ve been trained by my mother to do the book,” she said.


When it comes down to it, Kristi said she doesn’t see her life without the sport she loves so much.


“I just don’t see my life without basketball in some shape, form or fashion,” she said. “Whether it was as a player, as a faculty member or helping the program or as a parent. I don’t see my life ever being basketball-free.”


On Christmas Day, Kristi’s husband Johnny, passed away after battling cancer since his diagnosis in December 2010.


One thing Kristi recalls her husband telling Kaleb before he died was to go out and play basketball “for him.”


“One thing his daddy told him to remember was to have fun, play hard and play well, but from here on, you play for me,” she said. “(Kaleb) will tell you that he’s playing for his daddy and his honor, and will give 100 percent.”