TFS’s Lightbourne pens LOI with Division-I Dayton
On Wednesday for early Signing Day, Tallulah Falls School (TFS) star senior guard Denika Lightbourne signed her Letter of Intent with the University of Dayton, reports TFS Athletics. Lightbourne will continue her academic and basketball career with the Dayton Flyers, located in Dayton, Ohio. Dayton is an NCAA Division-I member, residing in the Atlanta 10 Conference. “I am very grateful for this opportunity that was offered to me,” says Lightbourne. “Being able to play at the next level was always a dream of mine and will most definitely be exciting. I’m ready for the challenges that college basketball will bring.” She becomes the first TFS girls’ basketball player to play at the Division-I level, and is coming off a stellar junior season in 2021-22 in which she led the team in scoring with 342 total points. That figure ranks eighth in single-season scoring in school history. “For me, I would say the people and environment,” says Lightbourne on why she chose Dayton. “Apart from what they were offering, it stood out how everyone interacted and carried themselves. It’s honestly because usually, people would try their hardest to persuade someone and really force an idea onto them but we had conversations about everything except committing. Another factor was that they saw my potential so, ‘Why not Dayton?!'” The guard guided the Lady Indians to their first-ever Region Championship and Elite 8 last season, resulting in a #7 state ranking. Lightbourne also had 157 rebounds, 70 assists, 16 blocks, and 68 steals last season while earning a second straight 1st Team All-Region honor. “Denika has one of the most unique athletic gifts I’ve ever seen in a high school athlete and she has treated that gift as precious with her work ethic this past summer and preseason by working harder than the next athlete on the court and in the weight room,” says coach Lowell Hamilton. “She is a great student, great teammate, and super fun to coach, setting a good example for all future and present TFS student-athletes. I’m very happy for her reaching her dream of playing D1 college basketball” Lightbourne, from Nassau, Bahamas, is a four-year starter for TFS and currently stands at 971 points, just 29 shy of 1,000 for her career. She also has 433 rebounds, 231 assists, 38 blocks, and 219 steals. She needs seven assists to set the all-time school record, she’s currently tied for all-time blocks and needs just two steals to become the all-time leader in that category as well. Denika Lightbourne will be recognized in the first-ever TFS Next Level Signing Ceremony at the end of the school year, in which all athletes who have signed with colleges and universities will take part.