Departures: Many of the players that helped the Monarchs to a banner season in 2012-2013 in which they finished 24-4 and 14-0 in the Central District before falling in the region tournament to L.C. Bird are gone. Central District Player of the Year Ashley Pegram now plays for Chesapeake College, and promising freshman post prospect Tyra Whitehead transferred to Cosby. Sycoya Dorsey now plays for Virginia Union.
Returning Players: Sophomore Nia Jenkins will lead the team in 2013-2014, after receiving much playing time as a freshman. Shamika Finch and Sariah Brown are post players who should excel, and Jourdyn Friend will pitch in after recovering from a lower arm injury.
Backcourt: Jenkins will lead a backcourt that graduated Brittany Nicholson and Pegram, who averaged 19 points per game last season. Junior Juanaysa Singletary should contribute as well.
Frontcourt: With Finch, Brown and Friend, this is easily the most experienced group on the Meadowbrook squad. Breanna Bannister was promoted from junior varsity and should see time at the 3, 4 and 5 and will start until Friend returns.
Coaching: Daniel Connor enters his fourth year as head coach and has brought great success with him. Meadowbrook’s program is one of the most respected in the area.
X-Factor: Teamwork is a strength for the Monarchs. Last season Meadowbrook enjoyed having a go-to player in Pegram, but will need to find that type of player this season. Defense is a big factor for the ladies this year as they will need to keep pressure on the ball.
Season Opener: Tuesday, December 3rd at Clover Hill, 7 p.m.
WHO TO WATCH
Nia Jenkins, sophomore guard: Jenkins, though just a sophomore, is one of Meadowbrook’s top options. The sophomore is the floor general for the Monarchs and leads the way with great ball handling and defense. Head Coach Daniel Connor says that working on her shooting will make her a complete package. She’ll lead a young Meadowbrook squad in 2013-2014.
COACH'S KEY TO SUCCESS
Connor stated that for the team to be most successful they will need to develop outside shooting, but most importantly play error-free basketball. Defense and taking advantage of steals will create more offense for Meadowbrook.
Departures: Meadowbrook will miss guard Khylil Hardy and center Lavonte Hights. Hardy led the Monarchs in scoring last year and Hights averaged a double-double per game.
Players: In addition to Cheeks, three-year-starter and point guard Daquan Coleman returns. Coleman is the “floor general” for the Monarchs. Quick, heady and tough, the senior is trusted to make the right decisions for the offense.
Backcourt: Meadowbrook’s backcourt is the most experienced part of the team with Cheeks and Coleman. Despite losing a valuable scorer in Hardy, this should be the team’s strength. Khylil James will be a valuable swing player for the Monarchs.
Frontcourt: The Monarchs have a lot of size to choose from, outside of 6’7” starter Ty’Shawn Jeter. Antonio Davis has size and will start. Jeff Lee (a tight end on the gridiron) and sophomore Richard Legree provide more size and depth. Meadowbrook is likely one of the biggest teams in the area.
Coaching: Jake Oliver enters his second season as the head coach for Meadowbrook. The Monarchs finished 10-9 overall and 8-6 in the Central District last year, falling in the first round of the district tournament.
X-Factor: Overall team play. Oliver said the x-factor for his team was to trust one another and to think about the person next to him instead of himself. Another key is to find a scorer to compliment Cheeks.
Season Opener: Tuesday, December 3rd, at home vs. Clover Hill, 7 p.m.
WHO TO WATCH
Brandon Cheeks, senior guard: Cheeks is a three-year-starter at the varsity level and has developed into a Division I prospect with VCU, George Mason and Radford among schools interested in the senior. The lead Monarch has been working hard in the gym and has been worked to develop all skill sets in what is already a well-rounded game.
COACH'S KEY TO SUCCESS
Defense. Oliver stated that his team did a good job defending, but at times struggled with finishing the defensive possession and rebounding. Limiting second chance opportunities will be key for Meadowbrook, and will aid in the transition game.