CHESTERFIELD – Flashing a smile at the bench, Quenswayla Story hustled back up the court in a 78-50 L.C. Bird win over Midlothian, December 12. Last year, that type of scoring effort would have been a surprise. Story set a career high that evening with 31 points, adding 10 rebounds. Not always a scorer, the 6-foot forward developed her shooting and ball-handling skills in the off-season, grabbing a full-ride to North Carolina A&T.
“During the summer time I put up a lot of shots and changed my form,” said Story. “I needed the ability to go inside and outside.”
Colleges had already taken notice of Story for her size and defense, as she’s one of the better shot blockers in the area. Adding offense to that equation led to her acceptance of a scholarship offer. There’s no doubt that the Aggies also liked her 3.2 GPA. Add academics to a five point-per game increase in scoring to 15 points per contest and seven rebounds per game and you have a division-I signee.
“It felt like a family environment when I visited A&T,” explained Story. “I loved the players there, I loved the campus, and I just loved it.”
That sense of family environment is something that exists on the high school court with Story and her Skyhawk teammates, especially with junior Taja Cole, who’s her sister- in an almost literal sense.
Story’s AAU career began with the Capital City Ballerz, a program run by Star Wills and her husband, Eric. Cole, Wills’ daughter and Story first met when both were in middle school as teammates on the Ballerz.
“We noticed that Quenswayla wasn’t getting as much support from some of the other children,” explained Wills. “A big part of our program is helping those that need it, so we stepped up without question.”
When Story was in the eighth grade, Wills received a call from her. Story’s mother lives in Atlanta, and her father in the Richmond area, but after her father’s girlfriend passed away, it left him and Quenswayla without a place to stay. Story called Wills and her husband and they agreed to let her stay at their home in Chesterfield.
“At first I was a little worried because the two girls were just teammates,” explained Wills. “But they have completely bonded with each other as sisters despite having different personalities.”
Along with the opportunity to stay in Chesterfield, the skill sets developed and her senior leadership, Story has placed herself on the basketball map. This season, the Skyhawks are 5-3 and the senior is a big reason for their continued success.
“I had to step out of my comfort zone in the post,” explained Story. “Handling the ball used to make me nervous, but now I can get out there and help my guards when I need to.”
A four-year starter in the program, Story is still growing as a player and person. L.C. Bird Head Coach Chevette Waller applauds all of the improvements to her game but wants to see her senior leader be more vocal in the role.
“She’s a huge team player but very soft-spoken,” said Waller. “She’s gotten into that senior leader role.”
After close losses to Highland Springs and Brunswick and an early season loss to Monacan, the Skyhawks have their sights set high to improve on an appearance in the state quarterfinals last season after a four-year hiatus from state. With a strong inside and outside game, Bird hopes to play their way back to the Siegel Center in 2014. Scores and stats from the Lady Skyhawks and all area basketball are posted on twitter @VNewsSports, follow along.