Clippers start over again

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 6, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

Almost exactly 14 years ago, the Lake Kennedy Clippers youth basketball team was born on the concrete courts of Lake Kennedy Park. Coached by Michael White, the team held its practices at the Park until early 1990, when the intervention of the late C. Faye Tillery got them time on the John F. Kennedy and Birdsong Recreation Center courts.

Finally, in 2000, the team found a permanent home in Booker T. Washington Recre-ation Center. But the 2003 Summer League season hasn’t gotten off to a great start for the team, which has dropped its first three contests. In an effort to recapture the team’s magic, White took his squad back to its beginning point; this week, the Clippers have been back at the Park.

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&uot;I think you get more from practicing outside,&uot; he said Wednesday evening. &uot;You have to deal with the heat and sweat, and adjust to the wind. There’s no hardwood or air conditioning out here.

&uot;We’ve started sluggish before and ended up OK,&uot; he said of the season, which continues Saturday at Corporate Landing Middle School in Virginia Beach, where the Clippers battle a team from Norfolk. &uot;We’re not going to make any excuses. I think we’ll upset some of the other teams.&uot;

So does Keith Sessoms, a member of the Nansemond River junior varsity team that won the Southeastern District title this past season. &uot;We don’t plan on losing any more,&uot; he said. &uot;The ball’s harder to control out here, because all these little bumpy rocks can knock the ball away from you. It’s a lot easier to control on hardwood.&uot;

Teron Bell, who hopes to make his debut on the Lakeland varsity team this season, is used to playing on the Park court. &uot;I’ve played out here with guys like Keith Artis and Marquie Cooke,&uot; he said, referring to two integral players on the River varsity squad that has won the Southeastern District for the past two seasons. &uot;Playing with guys that have great games like that every day helps you get better.&uot;