Strong year for Suffolk basketball

Published 8:55 pm Tuesday, March 31, 2020

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It was a remarkable year for high school basketball for the city of Suffolk. With the boys and girls combined, Suffolk came away with some impressive accomplishments.

Suffolk finished the season with two co-champions and a runner-up. The Lakeland High School and King’s Fork High School boys’ basketball teams were co-champions this season, while the Nansemond-Suffolk Academy girls’ basketball team finished as a state runner-up. Add in the Lakeland girls’ basketball team, and Suffolk had four teams that finished within the top four in the state.

More than 15 players between the five schools were selected All-District or All-Conference, while two teams earned regular season championships. The NSA and King’s Fork girls’ basketball teams earned regular season conference titles.

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There were three Player of the Year awards for Suffolk, as King’s Fork’s Jayden Epps and NSA’s Alivia Giles were chosen for their respective district and conferences. George Rennie of Suffolk Christian Academy was selected the Conference Player of the Year as well. Eight out of a possible 10 teams qualified for the postseason, with three of those teams earning top-three seeds.

During the postseason, Suffolk came away with four region or conference tournament titles. Both Lakeland boys’ and girls’ teams won a region championship, while King’s Fork boys’ team won a region title as well. NSA girls’ team added a fourth, winning their conference postseason tournament. Two region players of the year came from this postseason run, with Epps taking home the 4A boys’ honor and Lakeland’s Jaelyn Brown taking home the 3A girls’ honor. Some All-State teams are still to come, but Suffolk can wrap up the year with at least five Player of the Year awards between the regular season and the postseason.

Five players surpassed 1,000 career points this season — Epps, Giles, Nansemond River High School’s Justin Fatherly and Lakeland High School’s Clint Wright Jr. and Keimari Artis. Fatherly and Epps were the top two scorers in South Hampton Roads.

The coaches were also awarded for their hard work with their respective groups. Rick Hite of King’s Fork’s boys’ team, Maurice Fofana of King’s Fork’s girls’ team, Clint Wright Sr. and Daryl Rountree of Lakeland boys and girls respectively, and Kim Aston of NSA girls all received coach of the year honors this season.

Overall, Suffolk talent was displayed on the highest levels this season. With the talent the city possesses, it continues to show Suffolk is no stranger to hoops success.