Local teams showcase talent at Bird tournament

L.C. Bird High School hosted its first holiday tournament over Christmas break, bringing competition from all over the state to compete, including: Landstown, Norview, Nansemond River, Middleburg Academy and Meadowbrook. Both the boys and girls were in action, with one of the marquee match-ups pitting two of the top girls team in the Central Region in Meadowbrook and Bird, a game in which Bird (now 8-2) won 55-50 to hand the Lady Monarchs (now 10-1) their first loss of the season.

“We need to get better with our help defense,” said Meadowbrook senior guard Ashley Pegram, who leads the team in scoring. “That’s something we’ve been working on and have improved at.”

The Lady Monarchs came into the match-up at 7-0 fresh off of a blowout victory over Nansemond River, a 15 point victory over their most likely district challenger in Prince George and a win over Bird already this year. According to head coach Daniel Connor, the team is just now reaching full strength with players recovering from injury, and the team has also received some key contributions from underclassmen in freshman forward Tyra Whitehead, freshman guard Sariah Brown and sophomore forward Jourdyn Friend. These contributors are in addition to a strong returning core of last year’s Central District Champions in seniors Pegram, Brittany Nicholson and Sycoya Dorsey.

“I like the mix of young players and seasoned contributors we have on the floor,” said Connor. “I especially like how the younger players have stepped up already this season.”

Pegram has been a gem in Meadowbrook’s program for the past four seasons, making contributions and starting even as a freshman. Jackson State heads the long list of colleges looking at the guard.

“We, as seniors, have to keep pushing the younger girls to keep improving,” said Pegram. “We also have some bigger players now, having size makes things easier, we need them to keep getting stronger.”

The Lady Skyhawks have also enjoyed a solid season so far this season, and currently stand at 8-2 after the completion of the holiday tournament. They added another victory over Huguenot last week. This season has shown the promise of a typical Bird season as the team again has size, great guard play and depth all while remaining a relatively young team.

Led thus far by sophomore guard Taja Cole and junior guard Monica Alexander, the Lady Skyhawks have their typical balanced team oriented approach.

“We’re always looking to put each other in the best position for success,” said Cole, the team’s leading scorer at 17 PPG. “We have to keep a strong team concept every game.”

In regards to size, Bird also receives a lift from having 6-foot-5 Quenswayla Story in the middle on offense and defense. The junior is averaging nearly a double-double per contest with ten points and eight rebounds per game. Story has also led the team in blocks each year and averages two blocks per contest this season.

Bird’s biggest challenge on the way to another Dominion District title will be Cosby. Bird is preparing for another battle as the two teams met on December 6 and the Skyhawks fell by 13.

“Cosby is a great team,” said Story. “They play together well, they get out and run and have a lot of great players.”

The Skyhawks face the Titans again on January 24 at home hoping to avenge that loss.

Both the Bird and Meadowbrook girls are expected contenders for their respective district titles and beyond. For coverage of girl’s basketball and other winter sports check out future editions of the Village News.

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