Latest News

Chargers hope to continue winning tradition

Before this season, Providence Day varsity girls' basketball coach Josh Springer had shirts printed up for all the players, from the middle school to varsity.

On the front it listed the years of each of Providence Day's nine state titles.

The Chargers are building a strong tradition in south Charlotte, and Springer wants everyone to know it.

"Our vision is to be the best girls' program in North Carolina and one of the best in the Southeast," said Springer, 30, in his fourth year coaching the team. He took over the program after Barbara Nelson, who compiled a 437-176 record and won seven state titles in 21 seasons at Providence Day, left to coach at Wingate University.

The Chargers make a good case to be the top state program, winning five of the last six N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 3A titles, including 2010. But if they want to repeat, the Chargers will have to do it with several new faces.

The team lost four seniors, including all-state selection Nneka Anuruonye, who now plays at UNC Greensborough. The team is much younger, with just one senior and four freshman on the roster.

While they lack experience, Providence Day has a lot of talent and size. Junior Tiffany Mitchell (5-foot-11) was a finalist for the U17 national team last year and scored 30 points in the 2010 state title game. She is a two-time all state selection and has gotten offers from several Division I schools.

Sarah Burnick, a 5-foot-10 forward, is the lone senior and will be a captain with Mitchell. Springer said Burnick is a player who won't make headlines but does the intangibles that really help. "She's the glue that holds our team together," he said.

Olivia Parker, a 6-foot-1 junior transfer from Harding, will add size and rebounding ability inside and join 6-foot junior Dacia Thompson. At 6-foot-3, freshman Jatarie White will add even more size and talent.

"She's a player, she's special," said Springer of White, who he said also can shoot from about 17 feet and shoots a high percentage around the basket.

Freshman Nikyah Morgan (5-foot-4) should also make an instant impact on the team as one of the best perimeter shooters. Sophomore point guard Jada Brayboy started as a freshman and leads the Chargers in transition.

Springer emphasizes the importance of role players on the team, which is evident in the team's motto, "It's not about me."

Burnick and Mitchell understand their role as the two most experienced players. "I know what (Springer) wants of us and I just need to relay that message to everyone else," said Burnick.

Mitchell said she knows it may take time to get the freshman comfortable in the system, but she thinks they will help the team. The freshmen will have to get comfortable in the system quickly since Providence Day opens its season against Oak Hill Academy, one of the top girls' programs in Virginia.

Expectations are high for the team because of it's success over the years, but Springer said that each team is different and you can't compare it to past teams.

"It doesn't matter what we did last year," he said. "As of right now we're 0-0."