Year in review: ‘Sugar’ shines at Georgetown

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, December 23, 2010

Former King’s Fork star TaShauna Rodgers was a First Team All-Big East player and the Big East Freshman of the Year with Georgetown in 2009-10. The Lady Hoyas went 26-7 and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Every January and February in Suffolk means lots of important basketball. This year was no different, except a lot of Suffolk’s recent standouts were playing at the collegiate level, which means playing into March.

TaShauna “Sugar” Rodgers went from setting every record possible in King’s Fork girls basketball’s young history to doing the same at Georgetown University.

Rodgers led the Lady Hoyas to one of their best seasons ever in her freshman season. The 5-foot-11 guard who scored 2,274 points in her Lady Bulldog career became the Big East Freshman of the Year. Rodgers made First Team All-Big East and Honorable Mention All-American. No Lady Hoya freshman had earned either honor before Rodgers.

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Georgetown finished 26-7 overall, 13-3 in the Big East and in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Rodgers averaged 17.6 points per game; scoring in double digits in 30 of her 33 games. Among plenty more GU program records, especially for freshmen, Rodgers set a new all-time Lady Hoya record with 83 made three-pointers in a season.

Former Nansemond River classmates Nick Wright and Andre Jones were on conference champion and NCAA Tournament teams.

Old Dominion, with Wright in his first active season after being redshirted in his true freshman year, won the Colonial by beating Towson, Virginia Commonwealth and William and Mary in the CAA Tournament in Richmond.

The Monarchs upset No. 6-seeded Notre Dame 51-50 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament before falling to No. 3 Baylor.

Jones and Winthrop won the Big South Conference title with a 64-53 win at Coastal Carolina. Jones had nine points in the final. It was Winthrop’s ninth conference crown since 1999.

“Actually, right after Andre won his final, on Saturday, while we were in Richmond, I talked with him and I told him ‘I’m coming right behind you,’” Wright said.

King’s Fork’s Jay Copeland passes during KF’s Eastern Region Tournament game against Maury at Norfolk Scope in February. The Bulldogs went 21-0 against Southeastern District opponents to defend their season and tournament crowns. Copeland is now playing at Ball State University.

King’s Fork’s boys basketball team won its second straight Southeastern District season championship and third straight SED Tournament title. The Bulldogs did it with a perfect 21-0 record for the second consecutive year.

The dominant post pairing of Davante Gardner, who’s currently playing at Marquette, and Jay Copeland, who’s now playing at Ball State, led the Bulldogs.

A run at defending the state championship came to a sudden end in the second round of the Eastern Region Tournament. Maury beat King’s Fork 87-86 in triple overtime at Norfolk Scope ending KF’s season at 24-3.

The Suffolk Spartans played their first-ever lacrosse match in March, forming the first lacrosse club drawing players primarily from Lakeland, Nansemond River and King’s Fork .

Suffolk Spartan goalie Josh Morris eyes a shot on his goal during Suffolk’s debut match in March. The Spartans gave Nansemond River, Lakeland and King’s Fork boys a lacrosse club for the first time.

With some players completely new to the sport and everyone new at least to organized lacrosse, the Spartans went winless through their first season but played a number of competitive matches.

The Spartans made Monogram Field in North Suffolk their new home. The Spartans played in the Hampton Roads Lacrosse league, an organization for club teams from Williamsburg to northeast North Carolina.

Chris Copeland, a four-time state champion in the high jump while a Lakeland Cavalier, won the NCAA Div. II national championship with a high jump of 7-feet-0.5 for St. Augustine’s College at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in Albuquerque, N.M. in March.

The national championship was Copeland’s first first-place finish in any meet of the indoor season. Four other jumpers cleared 6-feet-11.5 with Copeland but he was the only athlete to get the next mark.

Nansemond-Suffolk sophomore Gabrielle Bishop won two VIS (Virginia Independent Schools) swimming state championships to go with the two she won as a freshman. This past winter she won the 100 backstroke and 200 freestyle titles, both in new state record times.

In May, Bishop competed in the Grand Prix Ultra Swim, against Olympic and other elite youth swimmers from throughout the nation, in Charlotte. Bishop swam the 50, 100 and 200 free in Charlotte with her best result being 31st out of 105 competitors in the 200.

Lakeland’s Kelsey Smither and Nansemond River’s Stephanie Tarafas represented the United States in international field hockey competition in South America during the spring.

Smither and the U17 U.S. team traveled to Uruguay for the 2010 Pan American Youth Championship. The U.S. finished third of eight nations with a 3-2 record. The U.S. beat Chile 7-1 in the third-place match after losing 2-0 to Chile in the pool play part of the tournament. Smither started all five matches.

Tarafas was the starting goalkeeper most of the way for the U19 U.S. team during a four-match tour of Argentina.