APSU commit Tameia Shaw hopes to gain mental motivation from a shortened senior year at East Nashville. | SUBMITTED

Tameia Shaw lives in the gym.

As a senior guard with the East Nashville girls’ basketball team, Shaw has stayed in shape since the Lady Eagles dropped last season’s Region 5-AA quarterfinal game against Cheatham County through getting shots up and running on a track whenever possible.

Her high school coach, Kyle Upton, says that you have to take the ball away from the APSU commit to get her off the hardwood.

Since the playoff defeat, Shaw has committed to play at the collegiate level with coach David Midlick and the Governors, and has also begun her final semester at ENHS.

Unlike most seniors, however, Shaw and East Nashville played their first game this year in early February.

Metro Nashville schools postponed the playing of all indoor extracurricular activities in Davidson county due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Their decision was firm until a Jan. 16 announcement that the teams could begin conditioning for a six-game regular season.

Shaw and the other five seniors on roster have waited nearly a calendar year to begin their final season of high school hoops.

“For me, it was terrible,” Shaw said. “You know, it’s your senior season and we didn’t really know if we were going to play or not until like last month. It’s been terrible, but now that we get an opportunity to play, you can’t take things for granted, because you see how fast you can lose something.”

The Lady Eagles played their first game of the 2020-21 season on Feb. 4 and hope to continue the success of their historic program despite the shortened circumstances.

East Nashville has reached the regional tournament in each of Shaw’s four seasons and have won a combined 78 games throughout her career. With at least four more contests to play, Shaw and the senior class aim to lead ENHS back to the state tournament for the first time since her freshman year. Through two games played, the guard has averaged 9.5 points, four assists and seven steals per contest.

“She’s always stepped in, since her freshman year, at being just an energy type of person,” said East Nashville head coach Kyle Upton. “As soon as she comes onto the court, as soon as she walks into the room, you can feel her energy. Her effort, her energy and her passion for the game have always just been a great part of our program.”

The difficulties of waiting to play their first game were expanded as neighboring counties allowed minimal restrictions for high school games. Even now, as the Lady Eagles take the floor, no fan attendance is allowed and coaches and players are tested prior to tip-off.

The long postponement of the season has become a similarity shared with a majority of commitments to the women’s basketball program. Of APSU’s five current commitments for next year, four have had their season partially or completely altered due to COVID-19.

Shaw says that close connections with Midlick and Upton throughout the postponement have encouraged her to build up a mental toughness when looking ahead to year one in Clarksville.

Her motivation to return to the state tournament and provide a final stint of success to East Nashville will be crucial when making the leap to the NCAA next fall.

“I would say I actually have a lot to prove,” Shaw said. “Last year, we got put out in the first round of regionals…As a freshman we went to state, I’m trying to get us back there. I’m trying to get us back there my senior year.”

The Lady Eagles anticipate to run into postseason foes who have played since the season began in November. Even with a minimal amount of games played, ENHS aims to make the most of their opportunities while providing more of the same when its district and regional tournaments begin in the coming weeks.

“Of course, we got dealt with the short hand of the stick in missing a lot of games, so just making these few games that we have meaningful,” Upton said. “Not taking them for granted and just enjoying the time that we have together. We probably missed over 20-something games, so the time that we do have together, we’re taking advantage of.”