Skyhawks find success early, look to finish season strong

L.C. Bird has long been known for its football prowess.After the past two seasons for the boys’ basketball program, the Skyhawks have become a force to be reckoned with again on the hardwood. At 10-2 and 6-1 in the Dominion District, Bird is likely headed towards the postseason for a third straight year.

With a younger roster, one might expect to see a fall off from their 2010-2011 state runner-up season and their 2011-2012 regional runner-up season. So far, this has not been the case.

“These guys work hard,” said Troy Manns, L.C. Bird head coach. “They make the effort, and work to make each other better,” he continued. “This is a really good group of kids.”
Losing Robert Johnson as a transfer to Benedictine was supposed to be one of the biggest question marks for Bird’s success this season. While Johnson leads Benedictine in scoring, senior JuVonte Reddick and sophomore Kenny Williams have stepped up to fill Johnson’s shoes. Williams leads the team in scoring with 20.3 ppg.

The Skyhawks still feature a balanced team oriented offense, as they did when they made their playoff runs the past two seasons.

In last Friday’s 69-49 victory against Clover Hill, Reddick and Williams combined for 44 points led an otherwise balanced attack.

“No one is selfish on this team,” said Reddick. “Whether we’re playing hard on defense or playing offense, we are a team.”

According to Manns, Reddick is an extremely talented young man, but his strength comes through his humility on the floor.

“He’s a quiet leader,” said Manns. “Every program needs one of those humble leaders,” he continued. “I’m not sure if Reddick even realizes how talented he is.”

For all the talent Reddick possesses, he is definitely a most experienced player on the roster as he logged minutes during Bird’s state runner up season off the bench and started last season.

“It’s going to come down to how well we play defense as a team,” said Reddick. “Offense will come for us, but our defensive play is very important.”

Williams, just a sophomore, received some playing time in the postseason last year and is similar to Johnson. Both were tall and lanky with a knack for the outside shot.

Williams has connected on 42 percent of his three-point attempts this year. For Johnson, it was the summer between his sophomore and junior seasons when he made major strides in his penetration game. Johnson now has offers from Maryland and the University of Miami with more offers expected to roll in. Williams appears to be right on time.

Bird’s two losses came by the hands of James River, who upset Bird last season for the District title, and by Kecoughtan (Hampton, VA) who is expected to make a playoff run in the East Region. Tough games remaining on the schedule include a contest with a rematch of last year’s regional final against Petersburg this Saturday in the William Lawson Classic and a rematch with Cosby, who Bird defeated 64-61 December 7.

The Skyhawks will look to continue their success the rest of the way as they look win the Dominion District and show well in the playoffs. With a strong foundation in team work and being a great shooting team, Bird isn’t a team that many opponents will relish facing the rest of the way. Follow us on Twitter @VNewsSports for updates and scores.

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