Seven is Suffolk’s lucky number

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 6, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

After six years of trying, the Suffolk Optima Family Care girls basketball team was about to play for its first league tournament title. The only thing standing in their way was Virginia Beach – which had handed the local ladies their first loss earlier in the season.

As the girls geared up for their third game Saturday at King’s Fork Recreation Center, they remembered defeating teams from Norfolk, Portsmouth, Hampton, Newport News and Chesapeake earlier in the year. Then they thought about the defeating that the Beach group had handed them in mid-October, denying Suffolk a shot at a perfect season.


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The Lady Suffolkians were already exhausted; they’d started off Saturday with a resounding defeat of Newport News, but barely squeaked past Norfolk. Now they had to take on a team that hadn’t tasted a defeat all year.

Forward Takeya Skinner tried to keep her emotions under control.

&uot;We were confident, but a little nervous, because they’d beaten us the last time,&uot; said the forward, a student at John F. Kennedy Middle School. &uot;We tried to feed to our guards and forwards if they were open.&uot;

At that point, no one knew how many open spots Sugar Rodgers, a two-year veteran of the squad, would find. But, perhaps from the benefit of playing on her school court, the eighth-grader took charge, dropping in 18 points and winning herself the tournament Most Valuable Player award in a 46-32 defeat, sealing Suffolk’s first-ever title in seven years of trying.

&uot;I wasn’t really surprised,&uot; Rodgers said of her award. &uot;We took our time and played our own game.&uot;

The team hopes to continue to play its own game today and tomorrow; they’ll take part in the Regional Tournament in Portsmouth. Suffolk plays its first game at 11 a.m. at the J.D. Parker Recreation Center.

In other local recreation basketball news, coach Michael White got his 600th career win as his Lake Kennedy Clippers swept a tournament in Gates County, going 3-0 and edging Gates County 53-51 in the title game. The Clippers ended the Summer League regular season 12-4.