Lady Storm win VCFBL championship

Published 10:09 pm Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Suffolk took the Virginia Cities Fall Basketball League by storm this year. Dropping only a single game all season, the Lady Storm swept through the first round of the playoffs and played the role of avengers in the semifinal and final to become league champions.

Suffolk only had five players at its disposal the day it met Chesapeake (Freeman) to close the regular season. Some of them were the youngest players on Lady Storm head coach Tom Lewis’ roster. However, he did not want to use the shortage as an excuse.

“That was my biggest coaching challenge,” he said.

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Despite having no bench, the Lady Storm only lost by one when a last-second shot did not find the hoop.

Suffolk (6-1) got back to its winning ways to open the one-day season-ending tournament last Saturday at Creekside Recreation Center. The team defeated Virginia Beach 51-7. Every member of the team scored, including King’s Fork Middle School’s A’lera Linton, who posted her first eight points of the season.

John Yeates Middle School’s Briana Autrey and Makayla Dickens of Forest Glen Middle School also shared the team lead in points with eight apiece.

The Lady Storm made it to the championship game last year only to lose to Hampton. This time, the teams faced off in the semifinals, and Suffolk prevailed 36-18. Cam Harris of King’s Fork Middle School scored 15 points and Dickens chipped in eight more.

Chesapeake (Freeman) (5-2) awaited in the championship game, but Suffolk had most of its players back this time.

Lewis was confident his team had the best athletes. He also had the advantage of five girls returning from last year, who now have more experience. They would no doubt be motivated to wash out the flavor of being 2012 runner-up, as well.

The coach was concerned about Chesapeake’s size advantage, however, not wanting to get into a half-court game. Tight defense and aggressive, fast-paced play proved to be the antidote.

“We ended up causing a lot of turnovers and getting a lot of easy baskets,” Lewis said.

Autrey led the team with 18 points, Dickens had 14 and Harris added 10.

“For them actually getting their first taste of winning in this league, I was happy for them,” Lewis said of his players, all of whom he thought improved this year.

It was also Lewis’ first championship win as a six-year coach of the team. The Lady Storm’s last championship came about 10 years ago, dating back to a team led by Sugar Rodgers, now a Women’s National Basketball Association champion.