Are ’Jacks on the road to women’s hoop success?
Home fans won’t see Chesapeake College’s improved team until December
WYE MILLS Lowell Shaw is taking his new-look Chesapeake College women’s basketball team out for a road test.
Shaw’s Skipjacks play their first six games on the road, starting with Saturday’s 2 p.m. contest at Baltimore City Community College. By the time local fans see his team, Shaw will have a good idea on how his freshman-dominated roster will fare in the Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference.
"The road trip will be a good test of what this team can accomplish," said the fourth-year head coach.
Shaw, whose Skipjacks went 4-12 last season, said he expects his team to take a step forward this season.
"We’re still in the building phase, but I think we’ve made progress here," said Shaw, who guided the 2005-2006 squad to a school-record-tying seven wins. "This year, we have more depth, top to bottom, than we’ve had at any time since I’ve been here."
Three local players freshman guards LaTonya Bell (Easton High), Charlene Lewis (Kent Island High), and Kyra Ringgold (North Caroline High) started Wednesday night’s scrimmage against Wesley (DE) College.
"Jady (Bell) is fast and very good defensively," said Shaw. "Charlene is a tough, aggressive player, and Kyra has really come a long way in a short time since joining us at the end of volleyball season."
Freshman guard Fatima Calloway, who played at the Bedford (N.Y.) Academy in Brooklyn, and 5-foot-9 freshman guard/forward Irene Turner from A.I. DuPont High in Delaware also started the Wesley scrimmage.
"Fatima is going to be an outstanding player," said Shaw. "Irene is a swing person who’s going to help us with her shooting and her rebounding."
Another freshman guard, Charelle Brooke from Old Mill High in Glen Burnie, is "a real good outside shooter probably the best shooter on the team."
While Shaw’s starting lineup against Wesley was guard-oriented, he can go bigger when necessary.
Freshman Keyetta (Kiki) Pettiford, who played at Southern Durham (N.C.) High, and sophomore Yaasmiyn Finlayson, a Colonel Richardson High grad who is the only returner off last year’s team, are both 5-10 forwards. Shaw called 5-7 freshman forward Tiara Whye (Kent County High) "tough on the boards" and said 5-9 freshman forward Ebone Alsup (Easton High) is "a real good leaper" who should also help inside.
Shaw could best be described as cautiously optimistic about the 2007-2008 season.
"The good news is we probably have more athletes than any previous year and a fair amount of talent," said Shaw. "The bad news is, except for one (Finlayson), they’re all freshmen."
After Saturday’s opener at BCCC, the Skipjacks travel to Prince George’s Community College next Tuesday for a 5 p.m. game against the Owls. Chesapeake plays next Friday and Saturday in a tournament at Howard Community College, followed by road games at Montgomery College/Rockville (November 26) and Howard Community College (November 28).
Chesapeake’s home opener takes place Saturday, December 1 at 2 p.m. against Mercyhurst North East College.
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