WHS girls excited to be back on the court|Pack welcomes new players

Published 7:01 am Sunday, November 21, 2010

By By EDWIN MODLIN II, edwin@wdnweb.com, Staff Writer
New beginnings is what Washington High School’s basketball season seems to be all about this year, as returning players come back and some who haven’t played in a while return for their senior season as well.
Allison Jones, Washington High School girls head basketball coach, said although the team lost a few key players, it is still a team that has a lot of promise this season.
“We did lose our four-year starting point guard Hayley Stowe after she graduated last year,” Jones said.
Rakira Ward will be running point this year. Jones said she saw a lot of playing time last year and made the transition from a starting sophomore to a seasoned upperclassman this year.
“She’s a very smart player and has experience,” Jones said. “Beth Bachelor, who is a returning senior, has played just about every position on the floor. We’ll be losing her next year to East Carolina University when she leaves on a soccer scholarship.”
Bachelor is an all-around good athlete who went undefeated in tennis this season, the made all-area basketball team last year, and was an all-state soccer player.
“So she’ll be missed,” Jones said. “This will be her fourth year on the girls team and looks to have a strong senior season.”
According to Jones, the Pam Pack will rely heavily on its guards this season.
“Rachel Cantrell, who is junior and is a three-year player on this team,” Jones said. “She made the varsity as a freshman. And she is a very physical player and has a good mid to long range game.”
The team was also fortunate to get some height to their team in Shaquoya May, a transfer from Farmville Central last spring semester.
“It’s wonderful to have some height, but we’re not used to having it,” Jones said. “So we’re having to learn how to play with a definite post player. The girls are just not used to that, so we’re all having to adjust.
“One of the things about getting a new senior from another school who has played that coach’s style of basketball for three years is getting her to play and adapt to another style of play. But so far she’s picked it up very well.”
“We also have Brea Hines another senior guard,” Jones said. “And Staneesha Griffin is another starter on the team, who started last year as well.”
Jones said all three of these players are having to adjust to the play of May.
“We have a couple girls who have been out of the program for a while but are back now,” she said. “But they play other sports and are back. We just have to mold what I like to do with what we have and go from there.
“We’re usually a team that plays a lot of zone and definitely a lot of half court presses.”
While practice makes perfect, Jones likes to put the girls against the boys team for a more energetic round of play. One of the benefits about practicing against the boys varsity team is that their conference is a very competitive one, and Jones wants to condition the girls bodies and minds to adapt to any situation that arises.
“We’ll play against South Central, who usually has a few good key players,” she said. “And the rest of the teams are kind of up for grabs. We see a lot of pressure from South Central, and Havelock has height, and that’s what playing against the boys gives us.”
Granted, the girls team will never play against boys in a game, but the boys provide a type of faster play that Jones and the girls try to emulate.
“Playing them, the pace just picks up tremendously,” Jones said. “And the guys are always here before their practice begins and are always willing to help out.”
Jones said the team is showing a lot of promise so far during practice.
“We’re still making a lot mistakes and some of that will correct itself with the more games we play,” Jones said. “I’ve asked the girls to play very disciplined, structured and selfless basketball. And we do that. It’s just hard to get us all on the same page in the beginning. We’ll get there.”
Jones added that the girls have worked really hard and given a lot of effort.
“I expect big things from them this year,” she said. “I am looking forward to the season to begin.”