Young Lady Knights go back to basics

Published 9:57 pm Thursday, January 22, 2015

The 2014-15 season has been a challenging ride for Suffolk Christian Academy’s girls’ basketball team.

The Lady Knights currently have an overall record of 1-15 and they are 0-7 in the Hampton Roads Athletic Conference, but their coach, Tom Powell, has reasons to be encouraged.

Suffolk Christian Academy sophomore forward Julia Powell shoots over a defender during practice on Thursday night at the Liberty Outreach Center.

Suffolk Christian Academy sophomore forward Julia Powell shoots over a defender during practice on Thursday night at the Liberty Outreach Center.

His girls have been following three key mottos: never give up, enjoy every moment and take everything they have learned from a practice or game and apply it to the next practice or game.

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“I believe they’re learning,” Powell said. “I’m coaching them fundamentals.”

During the first half of this week, he took his team back to the basics in practice, covering dribbling and passing.

Even though it is the latter half of the 2014-15 season, Powell is looking at every practice as an opportunity to prepare his players for the future, since his team is so young.

There is only one senior on the Lady Knights’ small, eight-player roster.

“Everyone else is really (junior varsity) age, and that’s really where we should be playing,” Powell said, noting the teams his girls are facing are at a higher level of talent.

Most recently, Suffolk Christian hosted conference foe Gateway Christian Academy and fell 54-19.

Though almost every game has ended in a loss this season, Powell said his girls are focusing on the positives after games, noting where they have made progress rather than becoming dejected.

“These girls are encouraging even to me,” Powell said, referring to their handling of the difficult circumstances.

Senior guard Ashley Barton was surprised on Thursday when she was told the team’s record and explained her approach to games this season.

“I just go out and have fun,” she said, later affirming the Lady Knights have improved from earlier in the season. “We play more as a team.”

Powell has stressed the importance of defense and said his team has made a decent showing at that end of the court.

He has been both pleased and surprised by the shot-blocking ability of his daughter, sophomore forward Julia Powell.

“She’s averaging nearly five (blocks) a game, which I think is pretty incredible, even on a high level of competition,” Coach Powell said.

He also said his players have really learned how to box out, and consequently, “we have an increase of rebounds.”

The coach highlighted junior forward/center Zoie Howell, “who really is our strength down low, rebounding-wise,” he said.

Though the team struggles most shooting the ball, junior forward/guard Brianna Farrenkopf drew praise for her scoring touch.

“She’s had some pretty high scoring games, not consistently, but when she’s on, she’s on,” Coach Powell said.

He added that probably the biggest surprise contributor has been a first-year basketball player, junior forward/center Hannah Pearson, who has emerged as both a scorer and a rebounder.

“I really see some good promise in her future,” Coach Powell said.

The Lady Knights host the Beach Breakers tonight.