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Injury has Ferriday alum playing catch-up at Northwestern

NATCHITOCHES, La. — It wasn’t her two front teeth Jasmine Upchurch wanted for Christmas — just one tooth in its proper place would do.

submitted photo — Northwestern State’s Jasmine Upchurch (21) goes up for a rebound against Prairie View Academy during their game Dec. 4. Upchurch, a Ferriday High School alumna, has seen limited action so far this season due to a dislocated tooth.

Upchurch, the starting center for the Lady Demons and a Ferriday High School alumnus, was reviewing the defensive gameplan for Arkansas along with her teammates two days before their Dec. 21 matchup. After taking an elbow to the face from one of her teammates, Upchurch had a tooth knocked out of socket, sidelining her for a week.

She returned to action Friday against Mississippi State, but Upchurch said the adventure may not be over.

“I go back to the dentist (today), and there’s a good chance I might get a root canal, and I’d have to sit out another week,” Upchurch said. “I’m back, but I don’t know if I’m all the way back. It’s just a waiting game I guess.”

The injury kept Upchurch from participating in full practices during the week she was out. Not going at full speed has forced Upchurch to play catchup with her teammates, she said.

“I’m kind of out of shape, and I missed two plays that we learned over the time I wasn’t practicing,” Upchurch said. “I have to get my head back right.”

And Upchurch said it’s also important to her teammates that she get back into a regular routine.

“(The coaches) want me to bring a lot of energy when I’m on the court,” she said. “My coaches say I’m one of the best post players in the conference, and when I play with a lot of energy, I carry the team. When I don’t, it’s kind of like I’m bringing the team down.”

Since she missed the game against Arkansas, Upchurch said it was tough not being that leader on the court.

“I play a big part telling people where to be, and I couldn’t do that,” Upchurch said.

Upchurch said she talks regularly to her mother, Ferriday girls basketball coach Lisa Abron. When Abron was able to attend the Lady Demons’ game against Texas-Pan American Nov. 23, Upchurch said Abron gave her some much-needed advice.

“I was frustrated that whole game, and she told me afterward not to stop playing just because I’m frustrated,” Upchurch said. “She was just telling me to play hard, and as long as I do that, it’s OK.”

Though she was formerly a radiology major, Upchurch switched her major to psychology.

“I like the way the brain works and how people react and why certain people do stuff,” she said. “I might possibly want to do child psychology, but I also kind of want to coach.”

Next on the schedule for Northwestern State is McNeese State Thursday, and Upchurch said the team is looking forward to that game.

“We really don’t like McNeese,” Upchurch said. “We want to go in and kick butt basically. That’s a big rivalry for us.”

Upchurch’s father is Craig Upchurch.