L.C. Bird girls basketball is just one year removed from a 5A state finals appearance, and they are playing like a team that will...

L.C. Bird girls basketball is just one year removed from a 5A state finals appearance, and they are playing like a team that will do anything to return to the Siegel Center this year.

After losing standouts Taja Cole (Louisville) and Tyra Shelton (Queens-Charlotte), the Skyhawks have done a great job of anchoring their team down around Angela Caraballo. She has been the driving force of their team this year with her talent and leadership. Coach Chevette Waller has nothing but praise for Caraballo.

“She always knocks down big shots,” Waller said. “I can count on her whenever I put the ball in her hands.”

Averaging 20.6 points per game, Caraballo has definitely done her part in putting points on the board, but she can’t do it all alone. She has a solid supporting cast in Madison Baum and Kaaliya “KeKe” Williams.

Waller said that the team needs to be quick all around the court, and get to loose balls faster than anyone to make up for their lack of a big body. They are missing Shelton, last year’s center who averaged almost 10 rebounds per game, but the Skyhawks are definitely finding other ways to cope with their smaller team.

“Defense wins big games,” said Waller. “Madison Baum is our key on defense, she always provides lots of pressure and forces big turnovers.”

Defense really has been the key so far for the Skyhawks, Baum and Caraballo both are using their speed and athletic ability to chase teams around and each average around five steals per game.

Coach Waller also said great things about freshman Mya Coleman’s hustle on the defensive front. As the only freshman on the team, Coleman plays rock solid defense and looks like a seasoned varsity player.

Caraballo has not committed to play anywhere yet, but her excellent shooting, speed, and defensive hustle will make her a great player at the collegiate level. As she already has looks from a handful of colleges, her stock will continue to rise if she keeps up the high scoring production.

As a team, L.C. Bird faces a tough stretch of opponents beginning Jan.14 where they’ll face Monacan, Western Branch, Highland Springs, Cosby and Midlothian over the span of eight days. This stretch will really tell us where the Skyhawks are.

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