The Northumberland Lady Indians basketball team drew the unfortunate task of playing two games last week with only four days of practice. They entertained the Rappahannock (Warsaw) Lady Red Raiders on Tuesday, losing 45-33 to a team that has been practicing since the first of January. Rappahannock not only had the practice time, they had a team that had played together since middle school under Coach Ellen Corum-Gaines. They were led by last year’s leading scorer, Candace Slaw with nineteen points. She was joined in double figures by Layla Gaines with twelve. The Indians were led in scoring by last year’s district scoring leader, Tanaya Seldon with nineteen points. Kaylie Baker scored eight.
On Thursday, it was Senior Night with Northumberland bidding farewell and thank you to Kylie Baker, Yunique Craigway, Tanaya Seldon and Lexie Grillaskis. The Indians hosted the Mathews Lady Blue Devils, also another team that had more practice times and had played one game. Mathews hit the floor with one of the tallest, overall, girl’s team seen in Group 1A in several years. Despite having both the height and practice time, the Lady Indians played them straight up and held a 15-12 first quarter lead. That didn’t last long as the Lady Blue Devils came out strong on both backboards and took advantage of a cold shooting spell by the Lady Indians. By halftime, Mathews led 32-17 on their way to a 65-33 win against the Indians. Tanaya Seldon led the Indians with 17 points including four “treys.” Kaylie Baker had career high of eleven points.
The 2021 edition of the Lady Indians has depth with the outlook somewhat rosy for the future. Seniors are Kaylie Baker (5), Yunique Craigway (22), Tanaya Seldon (15) and Lexie Grillaskis (10). Sophomores are Deonna Hudnall (55), Abby Jennings (3), Key Morris (12) and Leyton Saunders (11) with Serenity Conley (30) as the lone freshman.
The guys basketball team took their act on the road last week after only four days of practice and were able to earn a split in their two games despite a lack of playing time together. On Tuesday, they traveled to Rappahannock High School and came home with a hard fought 38-35 victory. On Thursday, they made the long bus ride to Charles City County High and fell 65-58.
Perhaps no other school within the Northern Neck District other than Lancaster has given the Indians as hard a time as Rappahannock. With several practice days over for the Indians and a game under their belt it looked like it would be a battle royale, and that’s what it turned out to be. “They have a controlled offense,” said Coach Michael Stevenson, “and do a lot of trapping. Both teams made a lot of mistakes.”
The Indians were led by Jerius Morris with seventeen points and eight assists, Denzell Palmer scored fifteen with Jeremiah Toulson grabbing twelve rebounds.
Against Charles City, “a really good team, we had the early lead, but mistakes from lack of practice time and continuity [cost the Indians dearly], it was back and forth but we were not prepared for their trapping,” according to Stevenson. Morris once again had the hot hand, scoring 24 points, picking off eleven rebounds and racking up seven assists.
Saturday’s scheduled home game with Mathews was canceled with Mathews on Covid Protocall as determined by the Virginia Health Department. Stevenson was pretty upbeat about last week’s play. “I think with this starting week’s play we had a positive experience; we need to work to improve.” He also noted he believed all teams would advance to the playoffs. That includes at least five schools with the possibility of six if the Eastern Shore has a school.
The JV guy’s team had their first game on Friday at home against Rappahannock. Only five players suited up for new Coach Quame Green. The JVs held their own until the third quarter of play when the referees’ foul whistle caught up with them. They fouled out three players and the game was called with Rappahannock leading 45-33.