A proud program, L.C. Bird girls’ basketball was victorious over Thomas Edison to play in their first state title game. While the first half was a roaring success for the Skyhawks, they would fall just short of the ultimate goal, losing to Princess Anne 71-65 in the 5A State Final in what perhaps was the best season in school history.
“We came out strong in the first half,” said L.C. Bird coach Chevette Waller. “We didn’t take care of the basketball and made too many turnovers.”
The Skyhawks came out of the gate in full flight, hitting their shots and playing a disruptive defense against Princess Anne, who defeated them by 21 Saturday before last. It looked as if L.C. Bird and a solid group of seniors, headlined by Taja Cole and Tyra Shelton, would achieve the goal that every team sets in the preseason.
No lead is really safe with Princess Anne, who is perennially one of the best programs in the state. The Cavaliers, who were appearing in their seventh straight title game defeated L.C. Bird with a suffocating press last time out. It seemed as if that switch flipped in the second half. They outscored the Skyhawks 30-11 in the third quarter and turned a 16 point deficit into a three point lead.
The Skyhawks cut the lead to three on a three by junior Angela Caraballo with 1:08 to play, but fell in the end.
Princess Anne’s pressure got the best of L.C. Bird, forcing them into 26 turnovers. The foul situation was interesting. The Skyhawks shot 15 foul shots to Princess Anne’s 6 in the first half, but L.C. Bird only attempted 8 free throws to the Cavaliers’ 25 in the second half.
Taja Cole, headed to Louisville in the fall, won the prestigious Gatorade Player of the Year Award and was also named to the first-ever Jordan Brand Girls’ Team. A decorated player, this last item on her bucket list would have put icing on a delicious cake.
“I’m thankful for all of the awards, but I put them behind me,” Cole said. “I wanted to win the state title; it hurts.”
Tyra Shelton will head to Queens University of Charlotte for the upcoming season. The 6’2 post player should be a great addition to the roster as she develops strength and improves a rock solid traditional post game.
The Skyhawks will return a solid core in 2015 headlined by Angela Caraballo and KeKe Williams.