Lady Griffs open season with convincing win

Lucas Vance Staff Writer

December 10, 2013

Lucas Vance

Staff Writer

WINNSBORO — The Fairfield Central girls’ (1-0) basketball team made their regular season debut on Saturday night with a convincing 61-12 victory over Great Falls (0-2).

The Lady Griffin defense was phenomenal throughout the night allowing just two points in the first quarter, seven points in the second quarter, zero points in the third quarter and just three points in the fourth quarter. As a team they came away with 24 total steals.

Fairfield’s Jada Martin and Tanise Davis each snagged a team-high four steals.

At the half, Fairfield Central led 29-9 and then outscored Great Falls 22-3 in the second half. Raven Rivers and Chyna Moore led the team in scoring with 11 and 10 points respectively.

On the boards, Martin cracked double digits with a team-high 11 rebounds. Tiea Qunna Pearson was second on the team with nine rebounds.

The Lady Griffins open up their home-schedule tonight (Dec. 10) with a game against Chester. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m.

2013 Season Outlook

Lady Griffins’ head coach Cedrick Simpson is entering his third season at Fairfield Central. In his first two seasons,

Fairfield has earned a 35-11 record. The season prior to Simpson’s arrival, the Lady Griffs went just 3-19.

“You have to realize that coming into the summer of 2011 girls basketball was not at the top of the priority list as far as being noticed and getting exposure,” Simpson said. “I want people to know that girls basketball is a good sport to watch and I just want to bring some awareness to it.”

Heading into the regular-season, Simpson’s squad is the top-ranked team in class AA according to the South Carolina Basketball Coaches Association pre-season poll. Simpson credited his player’s parents and the school’s administration with the turn-around.

“The main thing that makes any program run is the parents,” he noted. “If you have good parents it makes it a lot easier to coach the kids. It makes it so much easier when you have people behind you.”

After his first season, Simpson took his players on a tour of the University of South Carolina and team camps in Charleston. He said they saw then what could happen if they dedicated themselves during their high school years.

“Those two events were a big turning point for us,” he noted. “Just having pride in something you do and making the game fun has been a big part of our success.”

This year’s Fairfield Central team has also had the leadership of Jada Martin, who according to Simpson is the heart beat of the team.

“Without the heart beat you can’t live,” he emphasized Martin’s importance. “She does it all, she rebounds, she scores and is a great role model. She will always do the right thing and is dependable.”

Martin was nominated as one of the top-five players in Class AA. Last season, she was the team’s leading scorer (16 points per game), leading rebounder (nine rebounds per game) and recorded a team-high 5.6 steals per outing.

“She (Martin) puts a lot of work into her craft,” Simpson noted. “She just doesn’t want to be good or great, she wants to be the best on and off the court.”

Two other players that made significant improvements over the summer are Christian Thompson and Raven Rivers.

“Those two players are under the radar, but will really help ease the pain of losing Chelsea (Siebles) from last year,” Simpson said.

On defense, Simpson said his team will press the ball to try and get easy baskets off steals and turnovers.

“We will pressure our opponent from the jump ball until the last while and from baseline to baseline,” he stated.

On offense, Simpson is huge Duke fan. Mimicking that style, the Lady Griffins will push the ball by driving to the basket then kicking it out on the perimeter. Fairfield’s offense will begin immediately off the rebound.

“That is what makes our offense so hard to defend,” Simpson said. “Because it begins right off the rebound and the opponent never knows who will bring the ball up the floor.”

Starting for Fairfield Central will be Jada Martin, Christain Thompson, Chyna Moore, Tiea Qunna Pearson and Raven Rivers. The first player off the bench will be Tanise Davis.

“Tanise is a super-sophomore,” Simpson noted. “Fans will hear a lot about her over the next three years because she has been playing varsity since her eighth-grade year. She is small in stature but has a lot of heart and is excellent shooting the basketball.”

The pre-season ranking for region III-AA looks like this: 1. Fairfield Central, 2. Keenan, 3. Columbia, 4. Eau Claire, 5. Pelion and 6. North Central.

2012 Season Review

Last year, Fairfield Central began the season ranked in the top-five. They started the regular-season on a nine-game winning streak and finished the year with a 18-5 record. In region play, the Lady Griffins were 8-2 with both their losses coming against Keenan by 11 points each time.

Keenan ended up winning the state title last season with a 48-41 victory over Bishop England. However, Keenan lost two of their best players and 75 percent of their scoring from last season.

Fairfield Central fell in the second round of the playoffs to Cheraw by a score of 40-38. Personnel wise, the only loss for the Lady Griffins is Chelsea Siebles. Siebles is now the starting point guard at Spartanburg Methodist. Last year, she averaged 5.6 points per game, 2.7 rebounds per game, 3.6 steals per game and 1.2 assists per game.

Last season the Lady Griffins averaged 51 points per game and allowed an average of 36 points per game.