Sunday, April 18, 2010

Girls basketball has bright future

The future of high school girls basketball in Manatee County couldn’t look any brighter. Just look at Bradenton Herald All-Area girls team that appears in Sunday’s paper.

Four of the seven players selected to the first team are underclassmen and Palmetto High’s Ashlee Smith could be one of the most highly touted college prospects in the state next season.

The 5-10 wing player will enter her senior year with 1,429 career points and has people comparing her to Sheila James, considered the best female basketball player the school has ever produced.

Smith learned her basketball on the playgrounds of New York City before moving to Palmetto in the ninth grade so you know she has been schooled by the best.

It’s been a long time since the Lady Tigers have had a player close to being the caliber of Sheila James, or at least good enough to generate that type of conversation.

James led the Palmetto High girls basketball program to its only state championship her sophomore year in 1996 and finished her high school days with 2,000 plus points before going on to a successful career at the University of Miami.

For those who forgot, in the state championship game James stole a pass and converted it into a layup to tie the game and then hit a free throw to give the Lady Tigers a 53-52 overtime victory over Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons and the Class 4A state title.

Smith has some lofty goals. She would like to win a state championship and needs 571 points to become the second 2,000 career point scorer in the Palmetto High girls basketball program.

Smith could be one of the most highly touted college prospects in the state next season.

The 5-10 wing player will enter her senior year with 1,429 career points and has people comparing her to Sheila James, considered the best female basketball player the school has ever produced.

Smith learned her basketball on the playgrounds of New York City before moving to Palmetto in the ninth grade so you know she has been schooled by the best.

It’s been a long time since the Lady Tigers have had a player close to being the caliber of Sheila James, or at least good enough to generate that type of conversation.

James led the Palmetto High girls basketball program to its only state championship her sophomore year in 1996 and finished her high school days with 2,000 plus points before going on to a successful career at the University of Miami.

For those who forgot, in the state championship game James stole a pass and converted it into a layup to tie the game and then hit a free throw to give the Lady Tigers a 53-52 overtime victory over Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons and the Class 4A state title.

Smith has some lofty goals. She would like to win a state championship and needs 571 points to become the second 2,000 career point scorer in the Palmetto High girls basketball program.


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