A star retains her shine

Published 9:40 pm Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Suffolk really likes basketball. During just the last few years, Suffolk’s been fortunate enough to see regional and state tournament teams, many individuals go on to the collegiate level, a McDonald’s All-American and a state championship team.

While all the wins, losses and stats are deservedly exciting, what’s even better to see is how Suffolkians support the kids who play basketball — simply as fans of the game.

We’re not yet a week into the high school season for most squads, but one example came from the boys’ game at Nansemond River Friday.

According to Tray Mason’s report for the News-Herald, Warrior and Cavalier fans packed NR’s gym for the double treat of opening night and a city rivalry.

NR head coach Ed Young will tell everyone and anyone how Warrior fans turn out, and how amazingly loud about 1,500 Suffolk basketball fans can be inside NR’s bandbox of a gym.

Both NR and Lakeland have traditions of being at or near the top of the district and of keeping their seasons going into the regional tournament. This year, for whatever preseason predictions are worth, there are not the usual predictions putting NR and Lakeland in the top four of the district. Even so, on Friday night, there was the same enthusiasm for the start of the season and the Cavaliers vs. Warriors.

The support extends to individuals, too. Leaving from the Wal-Mart in downtown Suffolk at 9 a.m. on Saturday, a group of residents will be taking a bus trip to Richmond to see Georgetown and UR play women’s basketball.

The purpose of the trip is to go watch and support former King’s Fork all-everything TaShauna “Sugar” Rodgers.

The trip is being organized by Rickeda Fofana and Sarah Knight. For more information, Fofana can be reached at 651-9564, and Knight can be reached at sparkerknight@yahoo.com.

For four years at King’s Fork, Rodgers led the Lady Bulldogs to regular-season and tournament championships in the district. Rodgers capped her senior season by being named one of about a couple dozen high school players in the nation to go to the McDonald’s All-American Game in Miami.

Within the first month of her first college basketball season, Rodgers is putting up the same type of numbers she did while she was a Lady Bulldog. Without copying what’s been on the sports page a few times already, the basics for Rodgers are: a Big East Rookie of the Week Award, helping the Lady Hoyas to a 7-2 record, 19.2 points per game and 38-percent three-point shooting.

Sure, Washington, D.C., depending on the joys of I-95, isn’t too much of a trip from here, but this is the closest game Georgetown has to Hampton Roads this season. Hopefully, a good number of the fans who saw Rodgers “way back” in her high school days can take Fofana and Knight up on their great idea.