Pressing on after a historic run

Published 10:28 am Thursday, January 11, 2018

Cumberland County High School’s varsity girls basketball team went deeper in the 2016-17 playoffs than any other hoops squad in the Heart of Virginia and made school history, but the Lady Dukes have been facing a significant challenge this season after graduation claimed key standouts from that prior group.

The 2017-18 Lady Dukes were 3-7 entering their Wednesday home game against Randolph-Henry High School.

“We have our good nights; we have our bad nights. We’ve been playing … up and down night in and night out,” Cumberland Head Coach Omar Liggins said.

Email newsletter signup

The Lady Dukes are a team that is pressing on without dynamic standout Bria Anderson, who graduated last summer. She led the team to its first-ever state tournament appearance and its first-ever Conference 42 tournament title.

Adding a key presence inside was center Tayziana Booker, who has also graduated.

“You take 20 points from Bria and 10 points from Tay — that’s 30 points right now that we’re barely putting up as a team,” Liggins said. “So, it’s up and down.”

But Cumberland earned a 32-29 road victory Tuesday against Bluestone High School and has now begun its second run against the James River District.

“We know what everybody can do, so hopefully now, second go-around, we can have a little better second half of our season,” Liggins said.

The 2017-18 Lady Dukes’ roster features six seniors, five juniors and three sophomores, but eight girls are new to the team. No one on the team is taller than 5 feet 10 inches.

Cumberland does not have an obvious standout this year, with points coming in small quantities from a variety of players.

The starting lineup for most of the season thus far has included senior guards Olivia Sims and Ruby Yarborough, sophomore shooting forward Nikki Hurt, sophomore forward Sade’ Gregory and junior forward/ center/guard Nadia Elasha.

The Lady Dukes are set to host Prince Edward County High School on Friday at 7 p.m.