On Friday, Forrest's Thea Ledbetter became the second member of the 2008-2009 Lady Rocket's basketball squad and fifth in two years to sign a college scholarship when she signed the papers to attend Motlow State Community College in Lynchburg.
Ledbetter follows fellow classmate Summer Waggoner, who recently signed with Freed Hardeman and the trio of Gaby Bussell, Ayla Young, and Dakota Wesson, who all signed after their senior seasons last year to attend Volunteer State C.C.
"It's a good feeling, no a great feeling," said Ledbetter at the signing. "A lot of hard work and a lot of practices went into this."
Ledbetter was a starter the entire season in 2008-2009, quickly becoming Forrest's main three-point threat with her unorthodox, but highly effective release from downtown.
Number twelve was also a tenacious defender, many times matched up with the opposing team's best ball handler. Ledbetter displayed an all-out hustle at both ends of the court, a trait not overlooked by Motlow State's head coach Karen Serra.
Serra said, "What I like about Thea is how she plays, her passion for the game, and how she can hit big shots. She is also a tenacious defender and is a leader and a motivator on the court."
All five of the players signed the last two years were members of dominating Flash basketball travel squad, coached by Mark Porter and Ledbetter was quick to point to Porter as her biggest influence in learning how to play the game.
"We all started young and that helped. I can remember playing since about five years old," said Ledbetter. "Playing travel ball helped me the most. Mark Porter helped us out and made us what we are today. Coach Porter pushed us all the time and helped us reach that next level."
Porter's travel ball roster eventually went on to win two middle school titles, one TSSAA Class A state high school championship in 2006, and appeared in four consecutive state tournaments, winning 138 and losing just 31 games over a five-year span from the 2004 -2005 season to 2008-2009.
The Chapel Hill hardwood heroines' state title in 2006 was the school's first in any sport.
The success of the Forrest program weighed heavily in Serra's decision to come after Ledbetter to play for the Lady Bucks when she commented, "We love to get players from quality programs and Thea is very indicative of their program."
Nearby Motlow, at Moore County High School, current Forrest head coach Jeremy Jean was a member of the 1999 state title squad and then had two separate coaching stints at Motlow before coming to Chapel Hill.
Jean said about Ledbetter's upcoming opportunity at the Lynchburg community college, "I think Thea is a good fit for Motlow and will do fine there. It is not a big school, but it will have everything she needs."
Jean added, "Thea has played since she was in the second grade and knows how to play basketball. I think Mark Porter is a big part of that. He coached her from the time she began playing until high school."
Serra was excited about Ledbetter coming in next year and trying to win a job on a squad that is losing half of this year's team to graduation, including the Lady Bucks' two best three-point shooters.
"Everyone who comes in here gets an opportunity," said Serra. "I am sure Thea will work hard over the summer and continue to improve to try to come in and win a spot."