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Prep Basketball Preview: Rowan County’s executive branch

By Mike London
mlondon@salisburypost.com
Reigning Player of the Year Shanequa “Bubbles” Phifer of Salisbury is the “first lady” of Rowan County hoops because of a great first step, a great 3-point stroke and an effervescent personality that matches her nickname.
Phifer averaged a team-high 14.8 points per game last season and bubbled against the best. She averaged 17.3 points in Salisbury’s three meetings with 2A state champ East Davidson and 17.6 in the Hornets’ six postseason outings.
In Salisbury’s loss to East Davidson that ended the season in the Western Regional, Phifer was the only Hornet percolating. They were 5-for-20 on 3s. Phifer was 4-for-7.
If it’s OK with everyone, this is the last time we’ll try to spell or pronounce Shanequa. From here on out, it’s Bubbles.
We could have a headline that reads, “Double-double by Bubbles means trouble for East Davidson.”
While Phifer is the early frontrunner to repeat as queen of the county, it definitely won’t be a landslide. Teammates Shi-Heria Shipp and De’Rya Wylie are super players. West’s Ayana Avery, East’s Ashley Collins and South’s Taylor May have the talent to sway voters.
West’s K.J. Sherrill wasn’t the male Player of the Year last year because East’s Justin Vanderford, the school’s all-time scoring leader and an East-West All-Star, was elected in a close vote.
To the 6-foot-7 Sherrill’s credit, he didn’t demand a recount. He figures and his coach, Mike Gurley, figures it is the big guy’s year to be sworn in as the county’s commander-in-chief.
The Charlotte signee is the total package. A solid citizen who owns the paint with blocks and dunks, he’s also versatile enough to step out and drill 3s from the corner.
Sherrill rebounds, defends and scores, and it will take a monster season from Carson’s Darius Moose or Salisbury’s Brandon Abel to prevent Sherrill from making an acceptance speech when the award is announced this spring.
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Credit George Washington with constructing the original cabinet.
One cabinet post he had no control over. John Adams was automatically declared vice president by virtue of being runner-up in the presidential election.
But Washington appointed a braintrust of Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of Treasury Alexander Hamilton, Attorney General Edmund Randolph and Secretary of War Henry Knox to fill out his starting five.
Jefferson and Hamilton got along about as well as East Rowan and West Rowan and would have dunked on each other ó on 8-foot goals ó if basketball had been invented.
Somehow the concept of the cabinet caught on, expanded and still survives in modern times.
There are so many talented players at the six Rowan schools this season that the Post has appointed its own cabinet as well as a first lady and commander-in-chief.
We won’t have a Secretary of War, however. That’s no longer politically correct.
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West’s Kaleb Kimber is Secretary of Transportation because he can take flight at any moment.
Mention Kimber’s name and someone will immediately answer, “Did you see the dunk at Hickory in the sectional?”
Kimber’s follow-dunk was jaw-dropping stuff, one of the two greatest dunks of the 2007-08 season along with the unbelievable jam East’s Kevin Hubbard threw down at Concord.
Wish Hubbard had been able to return this season.
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Salisbury’s Abel is Secretary of Treasury, not because he’s going to raise taxes, but because he is money ó get it ó from 15 feet.
Abel had a three-game stretch last season in which he scored 23, 24 and 26 points. It’s not hard to imagine him doing that night-in and night-out as a senior.
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Carson’s Moose is Secretary of the Interior because he owns the paint most nights in the NPC.
Moose’s long arms make him a terrific offensive rebounder, and he was a double-figure scorer in 22 of Carson’s 24 games.
He only had two off nights, and one was against President K.J.
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East’s Collins is Secretary of Energy for obvious reasons.
Headed for 1,000 career points this season, she shoots out the lights instead of turning them on.
The best thing about the hustling Mustang is she’s a star who will get on the floor for a loose ball.
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It doesn’t take rocket science to figure out why South’s May is our Secretary of Labor.
South coach Jim Brooks calls her the hardest-working athlete he’s seen in 18 years of coaching.
May battled injuries last season, but she’s healthy now. Rebounding is a labor of love for her.
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Some players seem to stick around forever.
North’s upbeat Daquondra “Quon” Cuthbertson fits that description, so she’s our Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Didn’t Quon play with Megan Honeycutt?
Can’t you just see the looks on opponents’ faces when she shows up in CCC gyms?
What, you again?
Actually, the physical and surprisingly nimble Quon is only entering her fourth varsity season, and we’re glad she’s still wearing green.
Good attitude, good quote and good player.

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