Sunday, December 31, 2017

Ardrey Kell's Lady Knights take over Wilmington

A few photos from Ardrey Kell's 50-40 victory over two-time defending champion Hoggard High School (Wilmington, NC) in the championship game of the Leon Brogden Holiday Basketball Tournament at Wilmington's Laney HS ...

The 2017 Leon Brogden Tournament champion Ardrey Kell Lady Knights
Front: Riley Littlejohn, Deniyah Lutz, Journey Muhammad, Stephanie Sherril
Back: Ast Coach Mike Nadel. Head Coach Jeff Buseick, Ast Coach Queen Smith,
Kennedy Cash, Michelle Ojo, Shy Booker, Meghan Rogers, Evan Miller,
Emerson Harding, Shonti Lutz, Nia Griffin, Lucy Vanderbeck.

When our standout senior Shy Booker boxes you out, you stay boxed out!
Shy has signed a national letter of intent with Austin Peay.

Our senior captain Journey Muhammad is our best 3-point shooter and
offensive engine, but she also is a fine defensive player.

Senior Deniyah Lutz puts suffocating pressure on a Hoggard player.
Deniyah, bound for Wofford College, also is one of our offensive stars.

Our bench looks on intently in the first half.

Fourth-year Coach Jeff Buseick has taken the AK program to new heights,
and we are off to a school-record 13-1 start this season. 

Yours truly joins some of our reserves as we listen to
Coach Buseick during a time-out.

The long and short of it ...
Journey and Shy made the All-Tournament Team.
Shy, who scored 11 fourth-quarter points in the
title game, was named Tournament MVP.

It's always great to line up for post-game handshakes
with another big victory on our record!
(All Game Photos Courtesy of Rodney Williams Photography.)

The tournament was held at Laney HS, most famous for being Michael Jordan's alma mater. Not surprisingly, the school has taken advantage of the link to one of the most recognized athletes in the history of mankind. We played our first game, against Wilmington's Ashley HS, at "the old gym," which is called Michael Jordan Gymnasium. Note the large photos of Jordan to the upper left and right, and his iconic Jumpman logo behind the basket.

We played our second game, against Wilmington's New Hanover HS, and the title game in the school's recently opened new gym, part of the Michael Jordan Sports Complex. If you look closely at the floor behind our team in first photo in this post, you can see the Jumpman adorning center court.

Below is a photo of the new gym's lobby display case, featuring MJ's Laney jersey and prototypes of every Air Jordan shoe.

All in all, it was a wonderful weekend. In addition to beating three Wilmington schools en route to the tournament title, we had a fun bowling outing, a great team dinner, and the opportunity to get to know each other even better. The latter was especially valuable for me, the newbie to the program.

With the holiday break just about over, I'm looking forward to getting back to what we all hope will be a State Championship season.

Go AK!

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