Next level: Cruz, Gilliam, Walton ink with teams

Three of the five seniors on the L. C. Bird girl’s basketball team have signed to play at the next level next season. This season, the girls finished at 24-3, but fell in the Regionals to Highland Springs, but continued the excellence that the area has gotten used to under head coach Chevette Waller.

Starting point guard Porscha Walton signed to play at St. Augustine College in the CIAA. She finished her career at Bird with 753 points and 331 assists  that figure good for fifth all-time in school history. Walton was a four-year varsity player and a two-year captain. She received All-Academic, First Team All-Metro, First Team All-Region and an honorable mention at the state level.

“She was my energizer bunny,” said Waller. “Always going to get that defensive stop, a great leader – one of the best defensive players I have ever coached.”

St. Augustine is located in Raleigh, North Carolina. The team posted a 14-14 record last season nearly knocking off Clemson in an exhibition game and defeating in conference rival Virginia State.

Kelsey Cruz, one of Bird’s primary scorers and starting shooting guard will be heading to Division I Fairleigh Dickinson University. Cruz finished her career at Bird ranking sixth all-time in scoring with 1,012 points.

She earned All-District honors last year and Second Team All-Metro honors. With the ability to cut to the basket and shoot the three, Cruz is a versatile offensive player.

Cruz was a four-year varsity player as well. Waller considers her to be one of the best shooters that she’s coached, and says she has a developing inside game as well.

Fairleigh Dickinson is located in Teaneck, New Jersey and plays in the Northeast Conference. They finished their season at 13-18 and had the opportunity to play the University of Connecticut. The men’s program at FDU last made the NCAA tournament in 2005, losing to Illinois.

Bird forward Ebony Gilliam will be attending and playing for Cape Fear Community College in Cape Fear, North Carolina.

“Ebony has a great basketball body and has even more potential to grow and develop as a player,” said Waller. “She’s great at getting second chance shots and rebounds.”

Cape Fear Community College is ramping up their women’s program, and Gilliam will join class of 2009 Bird alum Porsha Buchanan. Gilliam finished her Bird career with 482 rebounds, which placed her 15th all-time.

As mentioned before, Bird did graduate five seniors, but also looks forward to next season with youthful players such as rising sophomore Taja Cole, who played well down the stretch for Bird, and center Precious Story who led the team in blocked shots and showed improvement in all areas of her game as the season progressed.

Bird will be holding their annual girl’s basketball camp on June 25-29. For more information on the camp, contact Waller at 804-216-1986.


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