The year is 2020, and the last time Matoaca girls’ basketball had won 20 games was 20 years ago, under Charles Payton, who’s now the school’s athletic director. Coach Glenna Lewis has 20 wins and a core of seniors that have the student body excited to see what the postseason may bring.
“This year has been amazing,” Lewis said. “We have tried to keep our heads down and keep pushing. The first time we even brought up our record was after we defeated Petersburg to end the regular season.”
Lewis’ core of five seniors is Jordan Carpenter, Alize Armstead, Aaliyah Coleman, Kendall Satterwhite and Aliyah Jackson. Jackson is valuable coming off the bench, and you’ll find the other four in the starting lineup nightly, plus sophomore guard Maia Pettaway.
Carpenter is perhaps the team’s best all-around player and has earned the attention of a dozen colleges for her efforts. Skilled on both the offensive and defensive sides of things, and Armstead forms a two-headed monster of sorts in the paint.
Armstead has been a driving force in the improvement seen by the Warriors. Standing at 5-10, the senior has always been a defensive presence, often defending the team’s best ball handler, despite any perceived size or speed discrepancies. One big difference this year is the development she’s shown on offense. Armstead has tallied three games scoringn of 20 points or more, and like Carpenter, is a constant threat to record a double-double.
Another key to Matoaca’s success could be Satterwhite, who has made leaps and bounds in her offensive game. A pure athlete who also runs track, Satterwhite has been coached to be more aggressive and make plays. This season, especially over the second half of the year, Satterwhite has transformed from a three-point shooter to a more confident player who puts the ball on the floor and can drive to the basket. Lewis credits some of that improvement to Satterwhite putting in extra work at the YMCA every morning before school.
Lewis called this year’s roster probably the most complete she’s had in her time at Matoaca, and it’s not limited to just the seniors. Headlined by Pettaway, the underclassmen all represent the next wave of talent and all have good scoring capability.
Despite the success, Matoaca must improve and get out of the second round of the playoffs. Although the team is a fun-loving group, their sights are on the goal at hand.
“We have to take this a game at a time and prepare the girls to the best of our ability,” Lewis said. “This is kind of a first experience for us. We as a team have to stay focused. Ultra focused.”
Matoaca will either be the No. 1 or No. 2 seed in region 5B, depending on games played early this week. Tournament seeding will be published on www.villagenewsonline.com when made available.