Even Michael Jordan needed a Scottie Pippen, and a supporting cast to win those six rings. Basketball is no different at any level, it’s a team sport. Everyone knows who the top players on teams are, but who else contributes and who are the unsung heroes? The Village News talks supporting players and their importance to their respective programs.
L.C. Bird Boys (12-3*)
Top Option: Kenny Williams, Junior
Key Contributor: C.J. Miles, Junior
Miles may be one of the best shooters in the area, having hit 49 threes thus far this season. The guard compliments Kenny Williams well, averaging 18.2 points per contest. The junior is described as a quick combo guard that’s crafty and can create his own shot. Bird assistant coach Chris Herron also applauded Miles for his humility on and off the court. He’ll continue to keep defenses honest when teams consider double-teaming Kenny Williams.
Meadowbrook Boys (12-4*)
Top option: Brandon Cheers, Senior
Key Contributor: Khylil James, Junior
James is a valuable piece of the Monarch’s roster, and is relatively under the radar. The junior is quietly second on the team in scoring at nine points per game, and also grabs four rebounds per contest. More importantly, he’s one of three players on the Meadowbrook roster to average more than two steals per contest. Head Coach Jake Oliver uses James as his lockdown defender, and the forward has performed well in the role.
Matoaca Boys (11-5*)
Top Option: Devin Morgan, Junior
Key Contributor: Khalil Coleman, Senior
Regarded as one of the best overall athletes in the area, Coleman’s basketball skill set has blossomed in 2013-2014. The senior has improved his shot and his already ample skills at attacking the hoop. Matoaca’s shooting guard is averaging 15 points and three steals per game, including a 20 point effort in a January 31 Matoaca victory over Petersburg when Morgan missed a game due to an illness. The red-hot
Warriors have won nine straight games as of press time. Though skilled on the hardwood, Coleman will likely land a football scholarship.
Thomas Dale Boys (5-8*)
Top Option: Andrein White, Junior
Key Contributor: A.J. Holliday, senior
The Knights’ floor general and point guard is a well-rounded threat. Several schools are interested in the senior’s services at the college level, such as Longwood and Hampden Sydney. Holliday’s game includes a little bit of everything as he can score when needed, and distributes the ball well to a host of teammates that can put the ball in the basket including White, Collin Fleischer and Christian Clark.
L.C. Bird Girls (11-4*)
Top Option: Taja Cole, Junior
Key Contributor: Angela Caraballo, Sophomore
Behind standout junior Taja Cole and North Carolina A&T bound Quenswayla Story is a sophomore that’s turned heads for the Lady Skyhawks in Caraballo. The sophomore was moved up from junior varsity this year and is currently in the starting line-up, leading the Skyhawks with 18 three-pointers and averaging 9.5 points per game. The young guard can also handle the ball, taking some pressure from Cole as the team’s primary ball handler.
Meadowbrook Girls (12-4*)
Top Option: Nia Jenkins, Sophomore
Key Contributor: Sariah Brown, Sophomore
With a youthful 2013-2014 squad, Nia Jenkins has taken over as one of the leaders on the floor and top scoring options. In the post is 5-foot-9 Sariah Brown, who has notched five double-doubles and leads the team in rebounding at 10.4 per contest. Brown has done a good job in spelling Tyra Whitehead who was a huge post presence for the Monarchs last season who transferred to Cosby. The forward is a big reason for Meadowbrook’s success in the paint.
Matoaca Girls (6-8*)
Top Option: Jaelyn Tweedy, Senior
Key Contributor: Tiffany Mueller, Junior
With the majority of the offense flowing through division I prospect Jaelyn Tweedy, Mueller quietly provides support to the standout guard as a second option for scoring on the Warriors roster. The junior is a good shooter, averaging nearly nine points per game. Mueller has also improved other aspects of her game this season such as rebounding and most importantly leadership. The Warrior has started to speak up more in team settings.
Thomas Dale Girls (2-13*)
Senior Leader: Ma’Keese Bell
Emerging Player: Monique Jones, Freshman
It would be unfair to classify Monique Jones as a “second” option. Though the Knights have won just two ball games this season, including an exciting overtime victory against Matoaca on January 16 in which Jones scored 28 points, the freshman has emerged in many ways. Jones leads the team in scoring at 12.9 points per game and grabs five rebounds per contest. Already a key cog in a program that’s rebuilding, Jones will be an important piece to that process for years to come.
*Record as of press time.