Parrott girls' basketball looks for sustained success
From left, Arendell Parrott Academy's Rachel Okonkwo, Elliana Sylvia, Kaelyn Langston, Karmen Heath and Virginia Edmondson are among the members of the Patriots looking to build upon last season's 15-8 campaign. Photo by Junious Smith III / Neuse News
The Arendell Parrott Academy girls' basketball team wants to prove last year wasn't an aberration.
After winning a combined 14 games over the past three seasons prior to the 2017-18 campaign, the Patriots went 15-8, including a 10-game winning streak and a first-round playoff victory. With star point guard Kim Siebert, along with seniors Darci Basden, Scarlet Combs and Emaly Jarman, Parrott improved by 12 games in one year.
With those players gone, a young Patriots roster will have to grow up fast, as Karmen Heath is the lone rising senior who played last season.
“We’ve been doing a lot of dribbling drills, finishing layups and just a lot of the little things,” Parrott's Rachel Okonkwo said. “We’ve also been doing a lot more summer practices.”
The Patriots have done more than just practice, as the team attended camps at Methodist University in Fayetteville and Campbell University in Buies Creek to match up against strong competition. Parrott coach Kelly Johnson said the results have been pretty good throughout.
“We played in the varsity division in the Methodist tournament and I thought we played well,” Johnson said. “We took a lot of young girls there and in the tournament in Campbell, we had just 10th graders and below so we played in the junior division. We didn’t have a lot of numbers — we had an injury and had to finish with six girls, which is hard to do in Camp."
Kaelyn Langston, a rising junior for the Patriots, said the experience at the two colleges will be huge for the team when the season starts.
“The camps have really helped us,” Langston said. “We may have lost a few, but playing against stronger teams will only help us in handling competition during the season. We have a lot of players working on getting better and there are some JV players who can help.”
As the team continues to work on getting stronger, Johnson said the potential is there for a good campaign.
“We have a lot of young talent and have to remember that," Johnson said. "We're going to have our ups and downs, but there's a good influx of girls out there who can contribute. We surprised a lot of teams last year and hopefully we can do the same (this season)."