Young Lady Warriors prepare

Published 10:29 pm Tuesday, November 12, 2013

By Matthew Hatfield


Nansemond River’s girls basketball team is gearing up for the 2013-14 season, and the Lady Warriors have plenty to be encouraged about after their recent showing in the Hampton Roads Fall League, where they competed every Wednesday night at the Boo Williams Sportsplex in Hampton.


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The league, which featured six teams, wrapped up on Halloween with tournament play. Nansemond River edged Surry, 36-32 in the quarterfinals. They followed that up with a 28-20 win over a Heritage team that came in with a 6-2 record during the league and is expected to be a contender in the Peninsula District.

Nansemond River’s run ended in the championship, where they were beaten by undefeated Bethel, 52-27, to conclude a solid showing that saw the Lady Warriors go 7-4 overall.

Coach R. Calvin Mason Sr. is pleased with what he saw, considering the amount of youth on his team.

“I have five freshmen, and in my first eight I’m playing four of those freshmen. I’ve got two freshmen, two sophomores and a junior starting,” Mason said. “We’ve got some talent and a lot of potential; it’s just very young and inexperienced.”

The Lady Warriors stayed busy throughout October, also participating in a mixture of camps and leagues at Christopher Newport University and Atlantic Shores.

“To get here in the championship game was just a bonus,” Mason said. “It wasn’t our best effort, but Bethel’s got a good team. It’s not always a case of a team playing bad as much as sometimes it’s your opponent making you play bad.”

Junior Laura Ortiz is the Lady Warriors’ most experienced returning player. Ortiz will move into a different role after playing at the off-guard spot previously.

“She’s going to come over and play the point this year,” Mason said. “She’s learning on the job, and it’s a process learning a new position. Everything we do, we’re going to kind of go as she goes. She’s real fiery.”

Sophomore Aneka Yelverton could be poised for a breakout season on the hardwood. The 5-foot-8-inch guard is already receiving attention from Division I college programs.

“She’s got a lot of promise and is going to be a really good player, I think,” Mason said. “Already, she’s gotten interest from Old Dominion and a couple other schools. It’s just going to be a matter of how much she grows as a basketball player. I think her best basketball is ahead of her, but she’s got to work harder.”

Coming off volleyball, 6-foot-tall sophomore Sabree Clegg will be a key piece in the front court after starting last year as a freshman.

Mason has a bright long-term outlook for this team.

“This is some of the best talent I’ve had since Trinese Fox and that group,” he said.

The Lady Warriors open the season Dec. 3 at Grassfield.