All R-C Women

Published 3:46 pm Saturday, March 27, 2010

Two teams in the Roanoke-Chowan region won their conference championship. Two others finished second in the regular season.

Two ladies teams also won their respective conference tournament titles.

In the Northeastern Coastal Conference, the Lady Bears of Hertford County High School claimed the regular season crown while the Lady Falcons of Bertie High School finished second.

Northampton County High School – East won the Tar-Roanoke Conference with Gates County High School finishing second.

In the league tourney’s Bertie High School and Northampton-East got victories to hoist the championship trophies.

The successful girl’s teams were led by strong personal successes among the players of the league.

Ayanna Wilson – Bertie High

Ayanna Wilson led Bertie High School or finished second in almost every statistical category during the 2009-2010 season.

She scored 265 points and averaged 13.1 points per game to lead the Lady Falcons. She also had 80 assists, 30 blocked shots, 129 rebounds and 80 steals. Those numbers helped her as she was named All-Roanoke-Chowan Player of the Year.

“I learned a lot this year,” Wilson said of her junior campaign. “I think I’ve improved a lot over the years I’ve been on the varsity team.”

Wilson said she enjoyed her teammates and liked just being on the Bertie High School squad.

“I like being part of the team and going out and playing together,” she said.

Veteran BHS skipper Alice Lyons said Wilson made her team better every night.

“Ayanna was my leader on the floor,” Lyons said. “She was one of the tri-captains and I could always count on her to step up.

“I never worried about where our points would come from, because I knew she would always show up,” the coach added.

Wilson, who has played varsity basketball since she was a freshman, said she believes her game has improved both offensively and defensively. She began playing the game in fourth grade at the YMCA and said she has loved playing ever since.

“I love playing basketball and I like being on the floor for Bertie,” she said. “It’s a dream to play with my team.”

Lyons said Wilson worked all summer to get better and that was a big difference in how she played this season. She also said she expected to hear from college coaches all next year.

“She can definitely play ball and I know there will be D-I coaches calling next year,” Lyons said. “I know I’m glad she will be back.”

Patrice Williams – Northampton-East

Patrice Williams is just a junior, but she has already scored 1,000 points in her prep career. She celebrated that milestone this season as she helped lead the Lady Rams of Northampton-East to the Tar-Roanoke Conference title.

Williams’ prowess on the offensive end of the floor also led to her being chosen as the Best Offensive Player in the Roanoke-Chowan region.

“I went to a lot of camps and worked hard to learn how to play the game,” Williams said. “I never take a break from basketball. I’m always practicing hard, even in the summer.”

Williams said she identified weaknesses in her game and worked to improve them.

“I was poor on my jump shots and pull-ups,” she said. “I worked on that constantly.”

Rams’ Head Coach Rick Heckler said Williams was a great asset to his club.

“She’s a hustler,” Heckler said. “It’s always good when you have players who give 100 percent all the time. It seems like her energy doesn’t ever run out.

“She is offensive-minded, that’s for sure,” he said. “Still, she led our teams and was one of the highest in the state in steals. She was an asset to us on both ends of the floor.”

Tayler Smith – Ridgecroft School

When she’s not on the court, Tayler Smith is known as a kind person with a constant smile.

On the court, however, she terrorizes opponents with her tough defense and her ability to box out and grab a rebound. It’s a skill she has learned while playing at Ridgecroft School and the reason she was chosen Best Defensive Player in the region.

“Defense is the most important part of the game to me,” Smith said. “It also helps with offense, because a good defense can lead to fast-break points. In my mind, defense wins games.”

Ridgecroft Head Coach Susan Oliver said Smith was her team’s best defensive player and that she often matched up against players that were much larger.

“Tayler anticipates well,” Oliver said. “She’s our best defensive player because she works hard.

“Often times she draws the opposing center who is much bigger than she is and she still gets the job done night in and night out,” Oliver added. “She makes us better by the way she plays defense.”

First Team

The two largest teams schools in the region put two members on the first team while four others schools had at least one member on the squad.

Bertie High School – Ayanna Wilson, Ya’Shonti Bridgers

Hertford County High School – Briante Bond, Jaleesa Chinn

Gates County High School – Vicki Wiggins

Northampton-East – Patrice Williams

Northeast Academy – Jennifer Sykes

Ridgecroft School – Emily Cooke

Second Team

Bertie High School – Latoya Gilliam

Bethel Christian Academy – Jessica Howerton

Gates County High School – Dashanna Duggins

Hertford County High School – Camaryn Jones

Lawrence Academy – Ashtyn Mizelle

Northampton-East – Nikki Peebles

Northeast Academy – Lacy Pfeiffer

Ridgecroft School – Tayler Smith