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Camden High School

Talent Laden Camden Ranked Number Two By HSSR Entering Thick Of Region Competition

By Billy G. Baker


Camden-In the 10 years that former Camden High and USC basketball star Natalie (Funderburk) Norris has been the head girls basketball coach at her alma mater the Lady Bulldogs have never got beyond the first round of the playoffs and you can expect that to change before the conclusion of the 2019-20 season.

Entering the second half of region play at the mid-point of the season Camden is 17-2, 3-0 and being led by national 6-1 power forward prospect Joyce Edwards who earned all-rookie honors with the HSSR as a 7th grader last year after she averaged over 14 points and 10 rebounds a game.

Camden’s status towards winning the region will be tested when

“The sky is the limit for her,” said Coach Norris. “She’s a special player that comes along occasionally. She is an extremely hard worker, very coachable, and she makes straight A’s in the classroom. She scores and rebounds in double figure as a 6-1 8th grader.”

Edwards was offered a scholarship while attending camp at USC by head coach Dawn Staley last summer. “When this happens to a rising 8th grader who just feel blessed to have her on your team,” said Coach Norris.

“We believe that we are building a real solid program for now and in the future,” said Coach Norris. “Our senior team leader is Tiyana Peterson and she is four- year starter and a really good shooting guard with very good ball skills. She is getting some college looks.”

Peterson is averaging 8.3 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 2.3 steals a game for Camden. Another up and coming 8th grader is Zyasia Carter a super quick point guard and she is described as an excellent ball handler who is averaging 6.9 points, 2.3 rebounds, 3.1 steals and 2.4 assists per game.

“I feel very fortunate to have two talented 8th graders like Edwards and Carter and they give us a chance to be a very good basketball team,” said Coach Norris.

The team’s three-guard is junior JaTeanna Lee who is averaging 3.9 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.6 steals and 2.2 assists a game. Lee is an excellent on ball defender. Another key contributor is junior small forward Imani Wyatt well known for her membership on the two- time 4X400 state champion relay team on the Camden track team. “She has been scoring a lot for us lately,” said Coach Norris. “She is very quick and athletic, and she plays with a lot of confidence.

The first three players contributing off the bench include 7th grade shooting guard Morgan Champion who is averaging 7.2 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.3 steals a game along with freshman center Tateyoina Harris averaging two points and 3.4 rebounds a game. The third player off the bench is someone Coach Norris is very fond of and that would be her 8th grade daughter Deanna Jeffcoat and she is averaging two points a game early in her varsity career. Jeffcoat demonstrates excellent ball handling skills.

Both of Camden’s losses have come to Crestwood this year by the scores of 47-37 and 56-42. Some of their wins have come over Darlington, Blythewood, and Fairfield Central.

Camden’s desire to win the region will be severely tested when they travel to Keenan, the state runner-up team to Bishop England last year. The two region favorites will meet again at Camden to close out the regular season on February 13th.

Coach Norris is assisted by former Camden players Destiny Tucker and Cassandra Summers.

“We have a lot of basketball left to play and we need to make sure that we keep focused and that we keep improving and correcting our mistakes,” said Coach Norris. “We began the season with a lot of nagging injuries, and we are finally healthy and playing well. Our main goals are to compete hard to win the region, go into the playoffs playing our best basketball and make a deep run in the playoffs.”

Sounds like a plan for sure.



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