NSA girls’ basketball starting three sophomores this season

Published 10:15 am Saturday, December 3, 2011


SUFFOLK—Kim Aston’s Nansemond-Suffolk Academy basketball squad is likely to have three sophomores in the starting five this season. An eighth-grader could be one of the top Lady Saint scorers and see plenty of playing time at point guard.

Instead of calling this Lady Saint season a rebuilding one, though, Aston thinks this year has as much promise as any since she became NSA’s head coach.

“I feel good with the kids on the floor and their leadership. They know where they’re supposed to be. It’s an experienced team, more so than any team I’ve had in the four years I’ve been here,” Aston said.

While still sophomores, Macy Mears and Jessica Pieroni are entering their third seasons as key players for the Lady Saints. Mears has been a point guard since her eighth-grade season and is a threat from three-point range. Pieroni did quite a bit of everything last season, averaging 9.8 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game.

Kaylor Nash, still just a few days after her all-state volleyball season came to a close, was NSA’s sixth man, then a starting forward as last season progressed.

Nash isn’t the only Lady Saint who goes straight from a fall sport to basketball. Nash suffered an ankle injury in one of her first hoops practices after volleyball ended.

“So Kaylor’s really had only two full days of practice with us,” Aston said.

“We’re going to get a lot better,” she said. “We just need to get everyone back in the flow. We had five players with us in the fall and six who weren’t there.”

Senior Sarah Baldwin is the starting center and senior Morgan Lokie can play anywhere from point guard to the post depending on who else is on the floor.

“Sarah has improved a lot. I feel our post play will be better this year,” Aston said.

Lokie led the Lady Saints with 11.8 points per game, including 33 three-pointers, last season.

“Morgan does a good job of showing leadership on the floor,” Aston said.

“I thought we were unselfish. We were looking to find the open person,” Aston said about scrimmaging against Smithfield.

NSA had strong stretches of play. Lokie, Baldwin and Pieroni turned defense into fast breaks and baskets as the Lady Saints started the first period getting out to a 9-4 lead.

In the third period, eighth-grade guard Harper Birdsong made three field goals for six of NSA’s seven points in the quarter.

“Harper was probably our leading scorer during the summer league,” Aston said.

NSA went 10-12, with a 4-5 record in the Tidewater Conference, last season. The Lady Saints won six of their last nine regular season games before falling to Norfolk Academy in the TCIS Tournament quarterfinals.