For the third time in four years, Three Rivers will have a freshman from Manatee High School in Bradenton, Florida. First, there was Deanay Watson, who redshirted her first year and graduated this past spring. Last year, the Lady Raiders added Grace Jerome, and this year they have added Ophelia Lidge. “I knew how well Deanay was taken care of, and then for Grace to go there and for them to offer me as well, I knew I was bound to get taken care of,” said Lidge, who added that Three Rivers was the first school to recruit her. “It only took a matter of them to contact me.
I kind of knew I wanted to follow Deanay and Grace’s footsteps.” Lidge, a 5-foot, 8-inch guard who averaged 11 points and 4.5 rebounds as a senior, will rejoin Jerome, who redshirted last season. “Me and Grace play really well together. We’ve always had a close bond. I think it will be exciting and heartwarming to get to play with her again,” Lidge said. Lidge visited Three Rivers during last year’s season and saw that the Raiders’ fast-paced style matched what she liked to do. “It was really nice.
Everything was taken care of. It wasn’t stressful at all. Everyone was welcoming, it was good,” Lidge said of the visit. She also celebrated her birthday while on campus, and Three Rivers made the day extra special with a scholarship offer that she got to sign on her birthday. “It was a pretty awesome birthday gift,” Lidge said. “It was just in time to, which was really convenient.” During her senior year, Lidge helped Manatee to a 19-8 record and the school’s first district championship in 37 years.
“She knows what it takes to win, to be successful,” Wiggs said. “She’s a stronger guard who can get to the rim, defend, rebound, all from the guard position. So we are definitely excited about here.” With Bradenton being a 15-hour drive from Poplar Bluff, Lidge is nervous about being far away from home but excited about the transition. “It is kind of nerve-wracking, but I am excited for the new experience, and I’m ready to get started,” she said. “I think it is just a matter of time before we connect as a team. We are going to make each other stronger.” Lidge will study general education while at Three Rivers and plans to pursue a career as a psychiatric nurse.
Scott Borkgren - Daily American Republic