Thus far, the story for the four county ladies high school basketball teams has been between the haves and have not’s. Let’s take a look at where the teams stand currently and the prognosis for what’s on deck.
The Lady Phoenix
The strong play of McMichael has been the pleasant surprise of the year up to this point. A team that has struggled for the last several seasons, and a program that didn’t win a single game last year, has flipped the script and are currently 8-4. They are a very balanced team beginning with stellar backcourt play. Led by seniors Sadie Nester and Danni Lester — both can shoot, penetrate, finish and defend. Freshman Faith Robertson has been a welcome and surprising addition to an already deep team of guards. Robertson is speedy and her ball handling skills are particularly exceptional. Last week versus Western Alamance she had a career-high 26 points, so it looks like that position is secure for years to come.
One of the things that has changed from this season as compared to years past is solid play in the post. The addition of junior Cassidy Tanton in particular has made a big difference. She can run, jump, block, defend and score — and she’s not the only one. Although the Lady Phoenix are a little thin on numbers, the roster has proven solid from top to bottom, so if McMichael stays healthy, they could possibly contend for a Mid-State 2A / 3A regular season title.
It won’t be easy though, as the last few weeks have shown. The Lady Phoenix are 2-3 in league play. Currently seven of the eight teams in the conference are .500 or above and the top six teams in particular all have a shot at potentially bringing home a title.
McMichael will be back in action with a home game versus Northeast Guilford Jan. 17.
The Lady Cougars
It’s been an uncharacteristically up and down season so far for Rockingham. A team accustomed to battling it out for one of the top two spots in the Mid-State 3A Conference, has experienced their fair share of hardships. Currently winless at 0-5 in league play, the Lady Cougars are 7-7 overall. They are a tough team that relies on strong defense, but finding consistent offense has proven to be a different story. Through their first 14 games RCHS is averaging just over 40 points per game, and given the strength of the Mid-State 3A Conference, wins against a group of heavy hitters will be hard to come by. How the Lady Cougars fare in the month of January will very well determine whether or not Rockingham makes it back to the post season.
Rockingham has another tough test on Friday with a road trip to take on Person County (3-2, 9-4).
The Lady Panthers
So far, it’s been a tough season for Morehead’s Lady Panthers as well. Winless in league play at 0-5, and 3-10 overall, it looks like the playoffs aren’t going to happen this season unless things change, and change soon.
But don’t look past them because they do have some weapons and are much better than they appear on paper.
Point guard Janika Millner is as good as any in the league. She’s speedy on the break, and a good ball handler in addition to possessing a nice shooting touch from beyond the 3-point line. Millner averages 19.1 points per game and she, along with Jamea Thomas, who averages just over 10 points per contest, provides a good one-two scoring punch. The problem is they account for about 80 percent of the Lady Panthers offense. If Morehead can continue to play tough like they did last week versus a very good Reidsville team, then they’ve got a shot at turning it around if they can find a little more offense.
The Lady Panthers will be back in action with a road trip to take on Northern Guilford (4-1, 10-4) Friday night.
The Lady Rams
Reidsville’s got something they haven’t had much of as compared with the previous three seasons this year — and that is experience. The talent has been there, but it was raw. The Lady Rams back court tandem of senior Jada Artis and junior Amani Smalls are the twin engines that makes Reidsville go. Both average in double figures, and although they aren’t scoring as much as they did last season, they’ve got more weapons around them.
Chloe’ McGhee has proven to be a good outside shooter that can run — and the emergence of center Torri Parson and her effective play on the boards — has made the Lady Rams much more balanced as compared to years past.
Currently 8-2, Reidsville still has a lot to prove if they hope to challenge for a league championship. North Carolina School of Science & Math is still the top dog in the league and Graham is playing strong as well at 4-1 versus Mid-State 2A competition.
They’ll get a chance to see how they stack up against Graham with a home game Jan. 17.