L.C. Bird girls’ basketball continued their run of excellence by qualifying for the state tournament once again. After winning 17 games, they fell to Princess Anne 65-43. This season, they’re back, and armed with a new weapon and despite the loss of three seniors, are ready to make a run at states again in 2019-20.
Departures: Jaden Watkins, Jayla Henderson, Jade Wilson, Kiyah Shaw
Watkins averaged 19 points, eight rebounds, four steals, and four assists per game en route to winning the 5A Region Player of the Year award. Henderson averaged 13 points per game. Wilson is now playing for Guilford College after averaging seven points and six rebounds per game, and Shaw was a tough, play making defender.
Key returners: Kielle Shaw, Kameron Brown, Alexis Miller
Backcourt: Brown, Miller, and Shaw will lead the way for this unit. Brown is a sharp shooter who’s developed her ball skills, so she could prove to be dangerous for the Skyhawks. A more experienced Miller could mean more points. Shaw returns with hustle, tough defense, and some scoring ability.
Frontcourt: A transfer from Hermitage holds much promise for L.C. Bird: S’Zaria Jones. At 5-8, she’ll provide some much-needed size. Her scoring prowess is undeniable, as she blistered the nets at Hermitage for 1,400 points in her first three seasons at the high school level. Waller said she’s got a strong body and is pretty physical.
L.C. Bird’s style remains the same, despite what personnel they may bring to the table. Opponents and fans can expect to see the same aggressive defense that plays uptempo, applies pressure and forces turnovers. Often, the Skyhawks’ best offense comes in the transition from that defense.
The team will not have a great deal of size, so depth in the post beyond Jones is something that will need to be developed, and of course, with size, comes an advantage in rebounding. However, the Skyhawks have done a good job making up for that when necessary.
As well as the season went last year, Waller pointed out that six of the team’s eight losses came by single digits. She’ll look to coach her group of girls to play out every possession, because every second counts. Additionally, L.C. Bird has been bit by the injury bug over the last couple seasons. If they can stay healthy, they could be state-bound again in 2019-2020.