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Timberland High School
St. Stephen

 Timberland continuing improvement under Gethers

By C.R. Cumbee

Staff Writer

St. Stephen—The Timberland girls’ basketball team had a decent season in 2016-17, finishing third in the region before losing in double overtime to Loris in the first round of the Class AAA playoffs.

The Wolves, now in year two under head coach Moomie Gethers, are a much-improved group and currently have a 5-2 record. They have plenty of momentum after a huge win over rival Berkeley.

“I can see the difference from the team last year to the team this year. They are buying into the system that we are trying to run. We’ve only got eight players so we’re battling with what we have right now. All the girls work hard and that’s all I can ask from them,” Gethers said.

With only eight players, injuries and foul trouble could be issues later in the season. That lack of depth showed itself when Timberland lost to Ridgeland-Hardeeville less than 24 hours after the victory over the Stags.

“Depth is my biggest concern. Conditioning has been good, but when you grind it out on a night against a rival and give it all you’ve got, it’s hard to turn around and ask those same people you depend on to play at that same level,” Gethers said.

The Wolves have just one senior in the lineup in guard Destiny Croker, who is averaging 12.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.1 steals per game.

“She played a lot last year and she knows what I expect out of her. She’s carried on that leadership role as a senior. She was one that was always there in the offseason, and she works really hard,” Gethers said.

As good as Croker’s numbers are, point guard Jay’la Evans has been playing even better. The junior is scoring 14.6 points and grabbing 8.6 boards while adding 4.4 steals and 2.7 assists.

“We go as she goes. We’re as good as she is. She put the team on her shoulders against Berkeley,” Gethers said.

Other starters include guard Shakeyra Moore, forward Elajah Allen (6.6 points, 7.9 rebounds) and center Christina Lundy – all juniors.

Coming off the bench is guard Amiyah Ferguson, the first seventh-grader to get this much playing time on the varsity since former Connecticut and WNBA player Kalana Greene. Ferguson averages 4.1 points and 3.0 assists.

“She’s only in middle school and I’m putting a lot on her. She’s understanding the game and letting things come to her. Early on she was trying to force a lot of stuff because she was used to doing everything on the B-team. Now she realizes she doesn’t have to do too much,” Gethers said.

Rounding out the roster is junior center Cheyenne Padgett and senior forward Valree Johnson.

Timberland will compete in the Carolina Invitational Tournament Dec. 28-30 before opening conference play Jan. 9 at defending champion Bishop England.

“We’ve got to play defense and box out. If we do the little things, we’ll be alright. We make the game hard for ourselves sometimes,” Gethers said.

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