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Sarasota Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019 3 years ago

Transfer guard helps Sailors basketball enjoy waves of success

She played at Braden River High last season
by: Ryan Kohn Sports Editor

Guards Kelly Brown and Cheyenne Stubbs make a good pair on Sarasota High's girls basketball team, according to coach Wade McVay.

Not just because both wear goggles on the court, but because they also have similar attitudes.

“Kelly just wants to win,” McVay said. “And Cheyenne just wants to win. They do what it takes. And they are two people that can handle the point.”

Cheyenne Stubbs gets off a falling shot against Southeast High.

Brown, a senior, made a name for herself last season, when her “bulldog mentality” impressed McVay and earned her playing time, which she used to post triple-doubles and showcase an all-around game. But the team itself was middling, finishing with a 15-13 record and bowing out in the regional quarterfinals against Gulf Coast High, 71-44.

The Sailors got a gift when Stubbs, a sophomore, landed on their shores after transferring from Braden River High, where she had teamed with ESPN’s 11th-ranked player O’Mariah Gordon and skilled wing Julia Rodriguez to form a formidable trio. In her single season as a Pirate, Stubbs learned to win, helping the program to its first-ever district title, an 89-58 win over Brown’s Sailors. 

So Stubbs was familiar with the Sailors before she arrived. What she could not predict was the ease with which she felt comfort in her orange and white uniform.

“It was a great transition,” Stubbs said. “My teammates welcomed me. I felt comfortable in the scheme right away.”

Kelly Brown brings the ball up the floor against Southeast High.

Good thing, too, because Brown missed much of the first half of the season with an ankle injury. But now they are together, and they have help: senior forward Kate Meyer is a reliable post presence averaging 9.8 points per game, and junior Destinee Foxx leads the team with 6.8 rebounds per game. Brown has been steady as ever, averaging 10 points and six rebounds per game since returning from injury, but it has been Stubbs carrying the Sailors when they need a great performance. Stubbs is averaging 22 points per game to go with 4.5 assists and 4.1 steals.

“Her outside shooting is great,” McVay said of Stubbs. “She is strong on defense, too, she’s always active."

The Sailors finished the regular season with a 17-7 record, with three of those seven losses coming against  undefeated Braden River -- one of which by a single point, 52-51.

The Sailors and Pirates will likely meet again in the district championship game Feb. 8 at tournament host Palmetto High. Discounting games against Braden River, Sarasota had won 15 in a row before a road loss Jan. 29 against Southeast High. The Sailors made uncharacteristic mistakes and did not adjust quickly enough to Southeast’s height advantage, McVay said. (Meyer is the team’s tallest player at 5-foot-10.) That is something that, in the playoffs, could further challenge the Sailors, even though they adjusted by the fourth quarter.

Then again, with Stubbs’ deadly outside skills and experience, Brown’s utility and the team’s depth, maybe it won’t.

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I’m the sports editor for Sarasota and East County and a Missouri School of Journalism graduate. I was born and raised in Olney, Maryland. My biggest inspirations are Wright Thompson and Alex Ovechkin. My strongest belief is that mint chip ice cream is unbeatable.

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