Lady Chargers host Essex Monday
by Tom Chillemi
Although the Middlesex High varsity girls basketball team lost six seniors to graduation off last year’s 18-9 squad, the Lady Chargers have seven players returning.
“You might say we are in a rebuilding mode,” said Mike Lewis Sr., who takes over as head coach, replacing longtime coach William Griffin.
Lewis was the JV girls coach for several years and coached in the Middlesex Youth Basketball League for over 20 years. Lewis has coached all but three players that are now on the varsity team.
“They know my philosophy of the game,” he said. “Take one game at a time. I expect team play and I expect them to be model citizens on and off the court.”
Lewis said the four girls moving up from JVs will complement the seven returning players. “We are rebuilding. I have a good group of girls and they have been working hard in practice. Every team has an identity and our identity will be ‘team oriented’ on offense and defense.”
Returning varsity players include senior center Micah Reed, a tri-captain along with guards Chelsea Lewter and Amanda Brown.
Reed, second team All-Tidewater District last year, will be a leader on and off the court, said Lewis. “She will be our ‘go to’ player.” She averaged 8.2 points and 9.7 rebounds per game in 2008-09.
Juniors Lewter and Brown have skills at ball handling, passing, defense, scoring and leadership.
Ashley Williams, who came on strong last year, will see time at center and forward, said Lewis. Williams will help with inside scoring and rebounding on both ends of the court.
Junior Raquel Pierce, a forward, brings a lot of hustle to the team, said Lewis. “We’ll count on Raquel for help around the basket.”
Junior Brianna Brooks returns at point guard will be the team’s “quarterback on the floor.”
Sophomore Megan Payne, a forward, is a good post player who is strong under the basket with her rebounding, scoring and on defense, said Lewis.
Besides Reed, the only two other seniors on the team are Sabina Helbrecht and Kendall McNamee, who are both in their first year.
Helbrecht, the newest addition to the MHS basketball program, will play guard.
McNamee, a forward, should help scoring around the basket with her rebounding and defense, said Lewis.
All other new players are juniors and include four from last year’s JV team that finished 16-2. They are Jocelyn Brown, Anna Reed, Latasha Cephas and Jasmine Fells.
Jocelyn Brown, a forward, rebounds well and plays good defense.
Anna Reed, a guard is good on defense, ball handling and scoring.
Guard Latasha Cephas has good speed and quickness and should have a “major impact” on defense, said Lewis.
Jasmine Fells, at guard and forward, should contribute on both offense and defense, and she handles the ball well, said Lewis.
Guard Davina Peters has good speed and quickness, and should help on defense.
Dra’Chele Johnson will play guard and forward will help with defensive rebounding, said Lewis.
The varsity Lady Chargers played James Monroe in the James Monroe Tournament in Fredericksburg on December 2. Win or lose, the Lady Chargers return to James Monroe on Saturday for either the consolation game or finals.
The regular season starts on Monday, December 7, when Essex visits Middlesex.
Play continues at MHS in Saluda on Wednesday, December 9, against visiting Lancaster.
The JV games start at 6 p.m. and are followed by varsity games at 7:30 p.m.