- Last Updated on 12:22 PM 04/23/12
- BY Doug Ford
The 2009-2010 Comets varsity girls basketball season gives senior captains Nia Brown, Tiffany Wilson and Whitney McCargo one last time to lace up their sneakers as basketball teammates.
The trio has seen a number of ups and downs during their time together, from all-star travel teams to middle school and finally high school.
They played for two undefeated conference and tournament championship teams as seventh- and eighth-graders at Halifax County Middle School, and won the 2007 Coventry Commonwealth Games as members of the South Boston Storm 15 and Under travel team.
They continued their playing relationship in the high school ranks, first as members of the Comets jayvee girls basketball team, and have been members of the Comets varsity girls basketball team since their sophomore year.
But, their ultimate goals of a winning season and Western Valley District championship have not been realized, at least for now.
All three are looking for that to change in their final shot at a title.
“We’ve been together for about eight or nine years, and we’ve had some hard times, but it’s been great,” Brown commented. “I feel like we’re a family and we’re like sisters.
“We’ve been growing together and playing together, so this year means a whole lot to me and it’s kind of sad, because I wouldn’t know what to do without these girls.
“I’ll miss them, but I’ll just try to make the best of it and spend as much time as I can with them.”
Brown remembers the sacrifices her team has made the past several seasons to reach their goals, only to come up just short.
She is hoping for a different outcome this season.
“My big goal is to win the district and go to regionals, and I’m pushing myself as hard as I can to prepare myself,” she explained.
“Coach McCargo has coached me since I was seven or eight-years-old, and he’s really helped me as a player and a person.
“My goal is to go out a winner, and that would mean a lot to me and especially him.”
Wilson is aware that this year presents the final chance for the threesome to achieve a winning season.
“This team will always the one I’ll look back to, they’ll always be the girls I grew up and played ball with,” she noted.
“We’ll always be life friends, and it will mean a lot to go out a winner for coach McCargo.
“I feel we’ve matured in all aspects of our game, so I feel like we can do it this year, and I want this so bad for all of us, continued Wilson.
McCargo said the Comets have been focusing on several problem areas that may have cost them a chance at a better record last year.
“We’ve been working hard, particularly on beating the press because that was our downfall last season, in addition to missed free throws and turnovers,” McCargo said.
“Our results at the scrimmage were good, the guards handled the ball well and our inside players finished around the basket.”
Going out a winner would mean a great deal to her, but it would mean just as much to her father, head varsity coach Matthew McCargo.
“We haven’t had a winning season in a long time, and it would mean the world to me as a senior, but being around my father, I think he wants a winning season more than we do, to tell you the truth.
“But, we’ll want it more once the season gets started, and we have a capable team this year, so Dad is optimistic.”
All three have similar goals this season, but share one in particular.
“We want to beat GW and Franklin County,” said McCargo, with Wilson and Brown nodding in agreement.
Looking at the roster and number of returnees, Halifax has the tools to achieve that elusive winning season.
The Comets came close in 2007 with a 10-13 mark and closer last year with an 11-12 record, including a win at William Fleming in the district tournament quarterfinals.
In addition to Nia Brown, Wilson and McCargo, juniors Melyse Brown, Destiny Betts, Stephanie Carr and Shameika Canada return.
Moving up from the jayvee team are juniors Jamilia Smith and Ashley Leachman, and sophomore Jaynee Campbell.
Juniors Summa Brandon and Dekeda Townes, along with freshman Chelese Bowman round out the roster.
Comets Player Profiles
(Provided by coach
• Melyse Brown: capable of playing all five positions…will be the spark plug for the Comets offense…very good defender and a competitor in every sense…will need to knock down the 15-foot jumper that becomes available to her.
w Ashley Leachman: point guard…very quick player…has shown signs of being a serious threat from the perimeter…a hard worker who will get better as the season progresses.
• Whitney McCargo: shooting guard…a first team all-district player last year who can play all five positions…very good outside shooter…loves to set up her teammates…expected to contribute a big part of perimeter scoring and be a leader.
• Stephanie Carr: point guard…handles the ball very well…has deceptive moves to the basket…very quick defender…capable of knocking down the 3-point shot…expected to play valuable minutes at the point.
• Chelese Bowman: shooting guard…has a knack for finding a way to score…very good passer…3-point threat…will be a dominant player before she graduates.
• Tiffany Wilson: small forward…capable of playing all five positions…very athletic…can extend the defense with her 3-point range or jump over much bigger defenders in the post…loves to compete…a true weapon.
• Shameika Canada: power forward…a hard hat type player that comes to work every game…strong rebounder…tenacious defender with absolutely no fear on the defensive end…will be counted on to contribute more scoring this year.
• Destiny Betts: center…has all the tools to be a Division I player…gifted with great size and speed…good rebounder and shot blocker…capable of a double-double every game…needs to be able to channel her aggression.
• Jamilia Smith: forward…very aggressive player with good size…defends well in the man-to-man set…shows signs of being a 3-point threat…understands the game very well…expected to provide a spark at the three, four and five positions.
• Summa Brandon: forward…a very hard worker…loves to compete and has desire to get better…very good work ethic…very coachable…one of the strongest players on the team.
• Nia Brown: forward/center…very physical…strong rebounder…good low post moves…good defender and competitor…capable of double-double every game…her strong post play should demand a double team freeing up the perimeter.
• Jaynee Campbell: shooting guard…very quick and plays passing lanes very well…will provide some valuable outside shooting…expected to cover the opposing team’s speed players.