A new era for Lady Rams basketball began on Wednesday as first-year Reidsville head coach DeAnna Solomon made her debut with a 56-46 home win over Martinsville. Not only was it a great night for Soloman and the Lady Rams, but it was also a historic for senior Jada Artis who scored her 1,000th career point. She entered the game needing 9 to reach the mark and she got just that near the midway point of the fourth quarter on a breakaway layup which extended the Reidsville lead to 45-27. Officials briefly stopped the game as RHS Athletic Director Joe Walker announced to the crowd that she had reached the milestone as he presented her with a commemorative game ball.
“It’s good. I’ve put in so much work in to get it and so glad I finally got it. It was a hard 9 points, but I’m glad I finally did,” Artis said.
Reidsville’s defense was impressive early on, forcing five first quarter turnovers, but despite having several layup opportunities and trips to the free throw line that came up empty, the Lady Rams kept it to within two possessions, and then cut the Martinsville lead to 10-8 when freshman Kiera Perkins scored on a layup at the buzzer.
RHS would clean things up considerably in the second quarter as they doubled their offensive output from the opening period.
Following a turnover on a fast break, junior Amani Smalls was hit with a pass in stride, and even though the ball deflected off her and an opposing player, she was able to collect the ball, scoop and score, as she and the Lady Bulldogs defender crashed to the floor and into the wall. A foul was called and Smalls hit the free throw to complete the coast to coast and-one to give Reidsville their first lead of the game at 17-15 late in the second period. A tight back-and-forth battle would ensue as RHS closed out the half with a 24-23 lead.
The Lady Rams would take control in the third as they outscored the Lady Bulldogs 17-4, then early in the fourth, RHS would pump the lead up to as many as 16. Martinsville showed no quit however, cutting the lead to 10 on a couple of occasions down the stretch, but ultimately, the night belonged to Reidsville as they closed out the win.
Smalls led the charge offensively scoring 15 points, and Kiera Perkins was right on her heels chipping in 12 on a balanced night where seven different Lady Rams scored at least 2 points.
Three Lady Bulldog players scored in double figures including Destiny Harris (14), Nakieyah Hairston (13) and C’Aira Valentine (11).
Solomon took over the Reidsville job this past spring after former head coach Derrick Johnson retired at the end of the 2019 season. She inherits a veteran team that closed out last year with a record of 18-8 and made the programs second-consecutive trip to the 2A NCHSAA state playoffs.
Solomon, a 2006 graduate and former varsity player herself, said it was just the start she was hoping for in her debut as the Lady Rams coach.
“It felt great and the girls did well on opening night and I’m real proud of them,” Soloman said.
As for Artis, she said the senior has been one of the leaders to set the tone this season and has made the transition for both players and coach much smoother.
“She’s motivated some of the younger girls and just tells them that ‘you can play, don’t be scared.’”
Martinsville will host Dan River on Dec. 13 and Reidsville has an even longer wait. The Lady Rams next game is a road trip to cross-county rival Rockingham on Dec 23.
R 8 16 17 15 56
M 10 13 4 19 46