The Lady Warriors Basketball team won their first eight games in a row this season. With an 8-2 record,
they remain at the top of D.C.’s charter school athletic league (PCSAA). The players acknowledge they are performing at their peak this year, and credit their success to several factors.
“We have strong chemistry on and off the court,” said Co-captain Niya Stickland, senior, who has played
on the team for four years. “Also, we added two new players with assets that’s helping our game.”
One of the newest additions is senior Sharay Bell, center. “Sharay adds to our defensive game, particularly when it comes to rebounds,” said Ms. Koonce, head coach, who has worked with the Lady Warriors for four years and noted an improved performance from the team. “They are more consistent, more focused, and they have more accountability with one another.”
Another factor to their winning streak was a strategic move with regard to the game schedule.
“We felt it was important to start the season with as many games against schools in our league as possible,” said Koonce. “This way their confidence builds, allowing them to form a more authentic look within the league.”
Co-captain Janya Tuckson, a junior, says the close friendship and camaraderie impacted their successful
run this year. “We have fun both on and off the court…we have a real bond.”
She added that playing basketball taught her to have better control over her emotions. “It’s giving me a lot of life skills.”
Niya also credits the sport. “Basketball is my motivation. It keeps me going through the pressures of work and school.”
Coach Koonce, a full-time biology teacher at TMA, wanted to add coaching to her duties as a way to give back to the school community. She’s no stranger to the game; as a freshman she played on the Delaware State University basketball team, winning the state championship that year. She has some advice for her girls as they play their final games in the season.
“Leave it all on the court , and do your best with the skills you have – that’s enough.”
The Lady Warriors are headed to the playoffs the second week in February.