A fully re-charged St. Louis Surge women's professional basketball team played its best round ball of the season and won the Women's Blue Chip Basketball League (WBCBL) National Championship this past weekend at San Antonio's Judson High School. After finishing second at the WBCBL's Mid West tournament two weekends ago at University of Missouri-St. Louis, the Surge had to hold its collective breath to see if it would receive an at-large bid to the governing body's national trophy tilt. St. Louis inevitably snared entry and, as the seventh seed heading into this weekend's eight-team single elimination tourney, netted seeded upsets over #2 Conyers Rockets (112-100), #3 Charlotte Invasion (77-62) and #5 Flyers Elite (69-55) en route to its second national title in the past three seasons. The Surge, the 2014 WBCBL National Champions and last season's runner-up, finished its 2016 title campaign with a 13-2 record. 'This season we set out to accomplish winning another National Championship and we worked hard to build just that, a championship team,' said Surge Owner/General Manager Khalia Collier. 'All season long, we have a been a true team that goes twelve-deep. Every single player contributed to winning this title!' In Saturday morning's quarterfinal match-up against second-seeded Conyers Rockets, the Surge were trailing 26-22 after the first quarter but a 36-17 sprint in the second frame gave the locals a 58-43 lead at intermission. Scoring was comparable in the second half and St. Louis secured semifinal placement with the 112-100 victory, paced by Rebecca Harris (5'9''-PG-86, college: Illinois)' 18 points. Saturday night's semifinal against third-seeded Charlotte, the defending WBCBL champion, featured a tighter game defensively. Sporting a 21-13 lead after one quarter, the Surge maintained a 41-32 lead at halftime. The Surge's defense held the Invasion to single digits in the third quarter and, with its 18-7 edge in the frame, possessed a 59-41 lead heading into the fourth. Charlotte chipped away at the differential but could not stay close as the Surge, paced by 14-point outputs from Shanity James (5'11''-F-93) and Michala Johnson (6'3''-F/C, college: Wisconsin, agency: LBM Management), notched the 77-62 duke and entry to the title game. Sunday afternoon's WBCBL trophy meeting with Elsberry, Missouri's Flyers Elite, the team that had previously thumped the Surge in the aforementioned Mid West division finale, once again saw St. Louis buckle down defensively and possess a 16-6 at the end of the first quarter. Flyers Elite outscored the Surge, 20-13, in the second quarter but St. Louis maintained a 29-26 lead at intermission. The Surge edged the Flyers, 16-13, in the third quarter and possessed a 45-39 lead heading into the WBCBL's final quarter of the season. In the fourth, St. Louis capitalized on late fouls, converted on free throws, and outscored the Flyers 24-16, en route to the 69-55 triumph that netted the franchise its second WBCBL national trophy. As a result of its Mid West title setback two weekends ago, the Surge was proverbially on the ropes. With its national trifecta collected in the Lone Star State, the squad has fully established itself as a WBCBL legacy franchise with a 40-5 overall record over the last three seasons and two national trophies. 'Our players, coaches, staff and fans gave it everything they had,' said Collier. 'I could not be more proud in all that we have accomplished and what we have built in the city of St. Louis! We are National Champions yet again! I am forever grateful!' Courtesy of: archcitysports.com
Georgia Stampede tabbed experienced 34-year old former international guard Patechia Hartman (173-83, college: Georgia State). She has played for the last four years at GIE Matrix (WUBA), but left the team in Feb.'16. In only one game she had 11 points, 3 rebounds, 8 assists and 4 steals last season. Among other achievements Hartman played in the final of WUBA for two years in a row (2014 and 2015). She received also WUBA All-Conference Challenge 2nd Team award in 2015. Hartman was a membe... [read more]
Georgia Stampede tabbed experienced 34-year old former international guard Patechia Hartman (173-83, college: Georgia State). She has played for the last four years at GIE Matrix (WUBA), but left the team in Feb.'16. In only one game she had 11 points, 3 rebounds, 8 assists and 4 steals last season. Among other achievements Hartman played in the final of WUBA for two years in a row (2014 and 2015). She received also WUBA All-Conference Challenge 2nd Team award in 2015. Hartman was a member of USA Senior National Team in 2013. She is a very experienced player. Hartman has played also professionally in Hungary (Szolnok), Iceland (KR Reykjavik), WBCBL (Gwinnett S., Atlanta D. and Atlanta BC), WNBA (Atlanta Dream) and other WUBA teams (Georgia Disciples). She attended Georgia State until 2005 and it will be her twelfth (!!!) season in pro basketball.
Photo by Timothy Ramsey BY TIMOTHY RAMSEY THE CHRONICLE The Lady Warcats will kick off their basketball season in about a month's time. As a way to give back to the community, they donated tickets to the UniverSoul Circus to students of Ashley Academy last week. Regina Strickland, director of Marketing and Advertising for the Lady Warcats, said she connected with Jernetta Johnson, who works at Ashley Academy, at church and they discussed ways the Lady Warcats could volunteer at the schoo... [read more]
Photo by Timothy Ramsey BY TIMOTHY RAMSEY THE CHRONICLE The Lady Warcats will kick off their basketball season in about a month's time. As a way to give back to the community, they donated tickets to the UniverSoul Circus to students of Ashley Academy last week. Regina Strickland, director of Marketing and Advertising for the Lady Warcats, said she connected with Jernetta Johnson, who works at Ashley Academy, at church and they discussed ways the Lady Warcats could volunteer at the school by reading and visiting with the kids. About a month later, Strickland came back to Johnson with the idea of the circus and the plan blossomed from there. The kids who won the tickets were raffle winners from the school and ranged from kindergarten to fifth grade. Johnson was accompanied by Jenaya Abernathy and Lindsay Lee, two players from the Lady Warcats team. They spoke to the children about the team and gave them advice about how to be a successful student. 'This was great and I was glad to be able to come out and talk with them,' Lee said. 'I just wanted to let them know that when you have goals education is very important. It's all about the kids because you have to reach them while they are young.' Abernathy added, 'it was a blessing for me because it actually made me feel like a kid again. It's like I went back in time so to speak and I got a chance to see what I look like in their eyes by just giving back and being genuine with them. Just to be able to give them words of wisdom that I wish I could have gotten from older people when I was their age made this all worth it.' Scarlet Linville Ashley Academy Principal, said she was really happy for the Lady Warcats to come in and speak to the children. She says many have never been to the circus so this is a life changing experience for them. 'We are really excited when the community comes in and shows the kids options with their education,' Linville continued. 'This is a great reinforcement of positive behavior because we are focusing on that here. I like the fact they shared their personal stories about hard work and commitment because that's what it takes.' Strickland was happy to begin a relationship between Ashley and the Lady Warcats. She says this is the beginning of many more visits from the team. 'When we first thought of the idea I was of course excited because we want to make sure we stay connected with the community,' added Strickland. 'We just wanted to take it to another level and we will come and do things with the kids on an academic level however to make this really exciting we decided to bless the kids with a trip to the circus.' In the future, the Lady Warcats plan to come back to Ashley and read to the kids and other classroom
The Long Island Wave Organization has hand selected Kia Wright (5'8''-G-86, college: St.John's) as Associate Head Coach/Director of Player Personnel for the first year WBCBL team. Head Coach George Hampton said "there was no coaching search conducted for the position I knew exactly the person I wanted next to me in the war room directing player personnel decisions and on the side lines. I greatly appreciate President of Basketball Operations Ashley Gladden and General Manager Angela Jones... [read more]
The Long Island Wave Organization has hand selected Kia Wright (5'8''-G-86, college: St.John's) as Associate Head Coach/Director of Player Personnel for the first year WBCBL team. Head Coach George Hampton said "there was no coaching search conducted for the position I knew exactly the person I wanted next to me in the war room directing player personnel decisions and on the side lines. I greatly appreciate President of Basketball Operations Ashley Gladden and General Manager Angela Jones trusting me to make this decision. Kia Wright is a quality coach and outstanding person who will help us build this team the right way. Her ability to develop young point guards will be a major factor for the organization. At the end of this inaugural season Kia will take over the head coaching position with complete control to institute her own blueprint on coaching the Long Island Wave. I have 22 years of coaching experience in women's basketball and Kia Wright is a true champion, under Coach Wright's leadership the Wave is looking forward to a bright and successful future with the ability to compete at a high level and win WBCBL Championships,"said Coach Hampton.
Wright was born and raised in Copiague, N.Y.. At the age of seven, Kia Wright was the first girl to play and win championships in an all boys youth league in Copiague N.Y.. Kia's championships ways continued from there, she played AAU with the Long Island Wave and they were the first New York State AAU team to win a national championship. Wright also helped lead Copiague High School to its first Long Island championship in 2002 and its first NY State Championship in 2003. Wright finished her high school career scoring 2,148 points and a four time All-Long Island Selection.
Coach Wright signed a full scholarship out of high school with the University of Connecticut in 2003 "for me that says it's all about Kia Wright's leadership abilities, basketball skills, and knowledge of the game- the point guard position for women's basketball at the University of Connecticut is one of the top jobs in all of college sports," said Coach Hampton. Coach Wright transferred to St Johns University before the season started at UConn and from there she embarked on a stellar career. She led St.John's to its first NCAA tournament in 17 years. She was a four time All Big-East Selection, she's listed in the top 10 out of 11 statistical categories, and she is the only player in school history to finish with 1,500 points and over 400 assists. Because of these accomplishments Wright was inducted into St. John's University Athletics Hall of Fame in 2015.
Kia's professional accomplishments include WNBA's NY Liberty training camp (2008), Puerto Rico (2009) and Croatia in (2011). After suffering a torn Achilles in 2012, just three days before a WNBA Free Agent Camp, Coach Wright turned her sights on training and coaching. In 2013, she was the Basketball League Director and Basketball Program Coordinator at Barry and Florence Friedberg JCC. She then began her collegiate coaching career at Adelphi University in 2014, where she helped lead the program to its first conference title in school history.
In Kia Wright's Words: "It is truly an honor to be an associate head coach with the Long Island Wave. The Wave created lasting memories in my childhood and I'm looking forward to beginning this new journey with the WBCBL"
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