Cabarrus

Guard trying to make the best of her senior year

Jasmine DeBerry will never have trouble remembering her days as a member of Concord High's girls' basketball team.

As the Spiders' unofficial archivist, she produces the annual DVD of team highlights and presents them to her teammates' parents at the end of each season. Now in the middle of her senior year, DeBerry has been as much an on-camera co-star as she has been a behind-the-scenes producer.

A four-year starter at guard, DeBerry has been instrumental in Concord's stranglehold on the South Piedmont Conference over the last few years and is hanging onto hopes that she will play in college.

DeBerry first met Concord coach Angela Morton when she played on Morton's Cabarrus Stars AAU team when she was 12 years old. Several other future Spiders players were on that team, which all entered Concord as freshmen together.

Morton fondly remembers how small DeBerry was then, barely strong enough to throw a full-court pass. DeBerry made up for it though with her smarts and her wits.

"I felt like she had an energy and enthusiasm about her," said Morton. "Even back then, she had a good understanding of the game. She did the simple things. She understood more than what a 12-year-old usually understands."

As one of the Spiders' highly touted freshman, DeBerry played on one of the wings. She was the team's defensive stopper and scored a handful of points a game by penetrating to the basket.

Her hallmark moment that year came in the state championship game. Then-sophomore Ny Hammonds and fellow freshman Jhemelia Edwards were the top two on the point guard depth chart, but they both got into foul trouble in the first half.

Morton turned to DeBerry who played the entire second quarter at the point. She steadied the team and played with such poise that she was one of four Spiders' players who received a vote for Player of the Game in Concord's win.

The Spiders followed up their perfect SPC record and state championship with a conference co-championship in 2008-09. DeBerry stretched her numbers to average six points and four assists.

Concord started last season sluggishly. The team wasn't scoring enough by Morton's standards and she looked for a booster shot.

A few games into the season, Morton moved around a couple of her guards by placing DeBerry at the point and Edwards at the wing. Willing to be a team player, DeBerry thought the new position was a natural fit.

"I like the responsibility and creating for my teammates," said DeBerry. "I like to talk, and the point guard has to talk a lot on floor."

Morton felt DeBerry could handle the dual tasks of leading the offense and covering the opponent's best scorer, a level of responsibility bestowed upon few point guards.

DeBerry responded by scoring eight points and averaging seven assists and four steals a game. For the second time in three years, the Spiders went undefeated in the conference.

Facing a tough non-conference schedule, Concord has opened this season with a 3-4 mark, including an SPC-opening win over rival Jay M. Robinson. DeBerry is averaging 11 points, five assists and three steals.

A season highlight for DeBerry was scoring 12 of her season-high 20 points in the third quarter as the Spiders pulled away for a victory over East Rowan. Her noteworthy achievements away from basketball include being senior class president and a member of the National Honor Society.

Between what she's done for the Spiders basketball team and her academic achievements, DeBerry has enough to fill a highlight reel.

That's something she's capable of doing. She wants to go to college, hopefully to play basketball, and become a television producer.

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