For Senior Wesley Jackson, it’s the perfect sendoff.
For Sophomore Rajaa Shabazz, it’s a sign of things to come.
But for both Northumberland High School basketball players, it’s the glorious bow to wrap up what has been a strong outing in the 2013-2014 season.
The two athletes made the 2014 Conference #43 Basketball All Conference First Teams–Wesley Jackson for the boys and Rajaa Shabazz for the girls.
“It was something I always wanted to do for myself as a personal goal,” said Jackson. “I set out to make First Team and I made it this year, so I was proud of myself.”
Last year, Jackson was named the Region A Division 2 Boys’ Tournament MVP.
Stevenson praised Jackson as an outstanding athlete and basketball player.
“He’s a good shooter, a good ball handler for us and he has done well in rebounding,” said Stevenson. “He’s been a leader, he’s been an inspiration to his teammates.”
Stevenson said it has been a joy and a positive experience to coach Jackson for the last two years.
“Everything I’ve asked of him, he’s done it 100 percent,” said Stevenson.
Shabazz on the girls’ side was among the district’s top three scorers, according to varsity girls’ Coach Lewis Howard.
“We asked a lot of her defense-wise, bringing the ball up the court, [shooting] to score,” said Howard. “Making the First Team All-Conference, that’s a big goal for a sophomore.”
Lewis is anticipating Shabazz’s return to the team next season during her junior year. She should be the Indians’ top returner as several of the team’s players from this year are seniors.
“We’re going to be young next year,” said Howard. “She’s got to be team leader next year.”
As for Jackson, he is hoping to go to university in Richmond and hopefully play basketball there.
Stevenson noted they are looking at some colleges and working on getting Jackson ready for that level.
“Hopefully things are going to work out for him in that area,” said Stevenson.
In reflecting on his high school basketball career, Jackson said he was most proud of having made and won games in the playoffs and that he particularly enjoyed playing in the Group A Division 2 State tournament last year as well as playing on the home court in front of his family, friends and community.
For present-day future Northumberland basketball players looking to have success in their high school careers and possibly make first team as well, Jackson offered the following advice:
“You’ve got to practice in the offseason mostly, and you’ve got to play every game hard like it’s your last.”
Joining Jackson on the boys’ first team were Sterling Hammond from Essex, Marcus Byrd from Rappahannock High School, Treshaun Brown from Washington and Lee and boys’ Player of the Year Monte Gould from Colonial Beach.
Joining Shabazz on the girls’ first team were Trenae Henderon from Lancaster, Selene Epps from Rappahannock High School, Deniya Newman from Colonial Beach and girls’ Player of the Year Sydni Carey, also from Colonial Beach.
Also making All Conference was Senior Tylisha Crockett, also from the Northumberland girls’ varsity basketball team. Crockett reached a milestone in her senior year when she scored her 1,000th point in a victory over the Essex Lady Trojans on Feb. 10, 2014.