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Thursday, January 12, 2017

2017 StatVa.com Girls Basketball Primer

As 2017, The Year Of Women's Sports, continues, RVA Sports Network is proud to partner, for the fourth consecutive year, with the StatVa.com Girls Basketball Invitational to bring you the best in high school basketball action live!

This year we will present both #1 Monacan and #2 Highland Springs in action on Saturday night live on our YouTube Channel (see below for links to broadcasts!) plus bonus social media coverage of other games.

Courtesy of Tournament Director Michael Whittington, see a preview of each of the ten games below, including our coverage plans. We hope to see YOU at Highland Springs High School this weekend!



FRIDAY GAMES:

#8 L.C. Bird vs. Atlantic Shores, 5pm (Live Tweet Coverage: @cfieldsports)

--L.C. Bird enters StatVa an event veteran (fifth appearance), but young, with eight freshmen and sophomores on the roster. One of two returning seniors is team captain Madison Baum, who is injured and hasn't played this season. But head coach Chevette Waller's young Skyhawks are battle tested heading into Friday's game. L.C. Bird has appeared in the 5A State Championship game as recently as 2015. Head Coach Kevin Walton brings Atlantic Shores to StatVa for the first time. A 20-game winner a season ago, junior Tyla Happer (19 ppg) leads the Seahawks attack, joing by sophomore Chaniqwa Gilliam (11 ppg, 9 rpg, 10 apg), who is averaging nearly a triple-double. Four out of the top five scorers for Atlantic Shores are underclassmen. Keep an eye on 6'2" freshman post player Sarah Fitzgerald, who averages six points and ten rebounds per contest.

Huguenot vs. Western Branch, 6:30pm

--The Falcons finally make their StatVa Classic debut led by VCU signee Taya Robinson, a three-time All State performer in Group 3A. Huguenot, who play in the Dominion District along with L.C. Bird, Cosby, and Monacan, will be ready come postseason tournament time, led by head coach Bo Jones. Western Branch returns to the Classic featuring senior Jazmine Johnson, who averages 16 points and eleven rebounds per contest and was an All-Region performer last year. The Bruins rely on guard Cierra Cook (10 ppg, 4 asp) to form a formidable inside-outside punch. Western Branch spent Winter Break at a tournament in South Carolina.

#6 Hopewell vs. Deep Creek, 8pm

--The up and coming Hornets, led by head coach Kip Sutton, are led by a "play anyone" philosophy, participating in the Silver Division at the Boo Williams Christmas Tournament over Winter Break. Deep Creek is led by Tiara Williams, averaging in double figures. Williams was named All-Conference 17 a year ago in Class 4A. Hopewell comes off a Times-Dispatch Invitational Tournament appearance before Christmas that included a win over three-time Group 6A state champion Cosby. Head Coach Jackie Edmonds' attack starts with Georgia Tech signee Daijah Jefferson and forward Tyah Hunter, who will play collegiately at Furman. Jefferson doesn't mind playing the post or the perimeter, making her a dual threat. Their guards are quick and ready to press when needed.

SATURDAY GAMES:

Midlothian vs. Landstown, 11:30am (Live Tweet Coverage: @cfieldsports)

Head Coach Adam Layton returns the Trojans to the Classic led by Radford signee Tina Lindenfeld, who leads Midlothian in all major categories including points (15.6), rebounds (5.3) and steals (3.0). A growing experience in complimentary players including Nia Lloyd and Elizabeth Vincent will help the Trojans come tournament time. Landstown, a Group 6A quarterfinalist last season, is led by a quartet of players: senior center Shanika Peterkin, junior point guard Alexa Roberson, and sophomores Alyssa Norris and Zoe Maynard, both who average ten points per game. The Eagles hang their hat on solid defensive play, holding every opponent except one this season to under forty points.

Osbourn Park vs. Broadway, 1pm

Head Coach Cliff Gorham brings the Lady Jackets to StatVa after a one-year absence for their third appearance in Classic history. Osbourn Park won their bracket at the Boo Williams Christmas Tournament by defeating defending 6A South Region champion Woodside in overtime in the finals. There's just one senior on the roster, but it's guard Nadia Davidson, an all-conference selection last season. Broadway, from Class 3A, lost by just one to 6A Colonial Forge in the Classic a year ago, not afraid to play up in classification. Leading scorers Faith Funkhouser and Kailey Landis lead the Gobblers' attack, while two-sport athlete Ally Repko, who will play softball at Elon University in the Colonial Athletic Association, is versatile on both ends of the floor.

#3 St. Catherine's vs. Lake Taylor, 2:30pm (Updates On Twitter: @TheRVASportsNet) 

The Titans enter with a successful recent history, winning state titles in 2010, 2013 and 2014. Head Coach Saundra Sawyer's squad uses an uptempo press attack to push the pace of the game. Junajah Somerville averages 14 points and eleven rebounds. She's joined by freshman Jordan Poole, also averaging a double-double at ten points and twelve rebounds per contest. The Saints of St. Catherine's only loss this year was to Highland Springs in the Times-Dispatch Invitational Tournament semifinals. Former VCU great Edmund Sherod coaches a team that is far deeper than standout Sydnei Archie, who has signed to play for Beth O'Boyle at VCU. This will be a tough test for St. Catherine's, but also a chance at a signature victory.

Woodrow Wilson vs. Battlefield, 4pm

The Presidents fell just short of a Group 4A State Finals appearance last year. Wilson relies on strength inside with the front line of Jonae Cox, Jaylyn Copeland and Lydia Goolsby. This is the Presidents' first StatVa appearance in four years. Battlefield returns after last appearing in the Classic in 2015. Two all-conference selections of a year ago lead the Bobcats: Marley McLaughlin and Ahila Moone. Dana and Danielle Harrington have added secondary scoring options for Battlefield, who spent Winter Break participating in the KSA Holiday Tournament.

#1 Monacan vs. Forest Trail Academy (NC), 5:30pm (LISTEN LIVE BY CLICKING HERE)
                                                  (Live Tweet Coverage: @cfieldsports )

As if unbeaten, two-time defending 4A State Champion Monacan hasn't had enough quality opponents, participating in two big out of town tournaments in December, and staying unbeaten in the process, here come the Knights from Kernersville, North Carolina. Forest Trail Academy has already played teams from nine different states. Senior sharpshooter Leah Church, signed with North Carolina, leads the way with help from sophomore point guard Kirsten Deans. Down low, the size is there with Ashlyn Hampton. Former Wake Forest great Delaney Rudd coaches the Knights. Monacan, as we all know, is much more than Megan Walker, but the talk does begin with the nation's number one recruit for the Class of 2017, who signed with Connecticut back in November. The Chiefs have been nationally ranked for most of the season. A loaded senior class includes Rider signee Jaiden Morris, who poured in 30 points in the first half of last year's 4A State Championship blowout victory, Alex Parson, who joins older sister Micaela at the University of Richmond next fall, and Jasmine Norman, who is headed to Division III power Christopher Newport. Monacan hasn't lost since falling to Highland Springs in the 2015 Times-Dispatch Invitational Tournament Championship nearly thirteen months ago.

Woodbridge vs. William Fleming, 7pm

Tamika Dudley has assembled a very versatile lineup for the Vikings. Woodbridge, a favorite in Group 6A to finally end the reign of Cosby, is led by junior point guard Paris McBride, not to be confused with the Paris McBride that plays guard for Highland Springs. This Paris currently averages 15 points per game, and has the luxury of playmakers around her, from Hanna Oliver and Taelor Willard to freshmen Aaliyah Pitts and Vanessa Laumbach. Meanwhile, the Colonels, led by head coach Champ Hubbard, search the Commonwealth for the best competition for their schedule. The Colonels have seen their season end at the hands of Monacan two years straight, and would love a third shot at the Chiefs in March. Senior post player Tamani Manning is catching attention, and watch for guards Que King and Dasmine Kasey.

#2 Highland Springs vs. RJ Reynolds (NC), 8:30PM (LISTEN LIVE BY CLICKING HERE)
                                              (Live Tweet Coverage: @henricosports)

The nightcap features the host Springers, who are undefeated, and still searching for that elusive Group 5A State Championship. Cam Gatling (George Mason) leads the way down low, while sparking the attack out front are guards Jennifer Coleman (Naval Academy) and CeCe Crudup (UNC Greensboro). Az Bacot and Jalen Gathers are growing in their roles at a significant pace, which is only helping head coach Franklin Harris use his signature style of playing all 94 feet, and every inch from sideline to sideline. The Demons from Winston-Salem return to StatVa for the third straight year, led by the dynamic backcourt of Tierra Wilson, who averages 20 points per game, and Amari Cuthbertson, who is counted on for 16 per contest. Both have won Game MVP honors at the Classic in the past. RJ Reynolds won the prestigious Lowe's Classic in South Carolina over the holidays.

*****
NOTE: Exclusive coverage of Monacan/Forest Trail Academy and Highland Springs/RJ Reynolds is Saturday night at 5:30 and 8:30 on The RVA Sports Network's YouTube Channel at the links provided above!














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