The way Raven Phifer uses her athleticism to dash around the court, she’s easily recognized as a scoring threat and a solid all-around basketball player.But if you knew what Phifer has been through during her four years at A.L. Brown, you might wonder how she’s able to be on the court to begin with – let alone running and jumping with such great ease.This season, Phifer, a 5-foot-10 forward/guard, came back from her second major knee injury in three years; she currently leads the Wonders in points, rebounds and blocked shots.She admits that she thought about not coming back for her senior year. She missed almost half of her junior season after tearing her right ACL in practice. Phifer missed the last 10 games that season, in which she averaged six points and seven rebounds over 14 games.Her first injury was during the summer before her ninth-grade season; Phifer tore her right ACL and MCL while playing in an AAU state championship game. She didn’t return to high school action until her sophomore season, when she averaged six points and five rebounds per game.Phifer said that there’s only one thing that convinced her to return for her senior season: Her mother missed her senior year of high school basketball because of an injury.Not only did Phifer dedicate the season to her mother, Roslyn Campbell, she also changed her uniform number from 33 to 11 – the jersey number her mother wore when she played at Northwest Cabarrus years ago.Whether it’s karma or not, a lot is going well for Phifer this season. She rarely dominates the scoreboard, but she’s consistent with all aspects of the game.“On a high school level,” said A.L. Brown coach Mike Wolford, “she understands what it takes to win. She scores about eight points a game; gets eight rebounds; two, three blocks; two, three steals. … She does not have superstar numbers. But she does a lot of those little things.”Phifer averages eight points, seven rebounds, nearly two blocks, and one steal per game for the Wonders – which started the year 8-11, 5-5 in South Piedmont Conference play. But as a versatile post player, she’s always a threat to score, whether she’s in the paint or on the perimeter.Phifer had a memorable tournament at the CMC-NorthEast Holiday Classic in December. In an opening-round contest with Butler, she scored just three points, but she grabbed 12 rebounds. Her lone free-throw in the game’s waning moments broke a tie for a 44-43 Wonders’ victory.In a tournament consolation game against Parkwood, Phifer scored a career-high 21 points by making all three of her 3-point shots and connecting on 64 percent of her field-goal attempts.“I was surprised,” said Phifer. “I don’t know what came over me. I had 21 points. I just did what I thought was right. When I was wide open, I took the shot. If somebody was guarding me too closely, I drove. If I saw somebody that was open and I wasn’t, I just kicked it out.”And in a 54-51 loss at Central Cabarrus on Jan. 29, Phifer almost single-handedly brought A.L. Brown back to victory. The Wonders trailed by 10 entering the final quarter, but Phifer scored nine of her team-high 16 points in the period.Despite her setbacks, Phifer has caught the eye of at least one college coach. Not bad for someone who has missed a season-and-a-half since her freshman year due to injuries.
Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013
A.L. Brown player overcomes knee injuries, leads team
Senior Raven Phifer leads A.L. Brown in points, rebounds and blocks despite suffering two major knee injuries in her four years on the team. COURTESY OF ALLEN WOLFORD
The Phifer file This is what A.L. Brown senior basketball player Raven Phifer prefers: Playing on the wing or in the post? The post. Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate. Three-point plays or 3-pointer shots? Three-point plays. Going to the mall or the movies? The mall.