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Red Raiders Sports

Ward's play sparks Port hoop turnaround

Varsity - 2010 Season
Posted Thursday, February 25, 2010 by Kyle Ross
Retrieved from Times-Herald Record Online
Staff Writer
Tonjee Ward's impact on the Port Jervis girls' basketball team can be measured in terms of wins.
The junior transfer from Delaware Valley (Pa.) has been a major contributor to the Red Raiders' turnaround. After suffering through a 5-14 season, the Red Raiders are 6-2 and have exceeded last year's win total.
Ward has been the catalyst. The 5-foot-9 forward has been averaging 22 points and 12.8 rebounds, both team highs. An aggressive defender, Ward also is averaging five steals.
A Montague, N.J., resident, Ward has been enrolled at Port Jervis since September. She lived in Milford, Pa., and attended Delaware Valley High School before her family moved to New Jersey.
Ward spent two seasons on Delaware Valley's varsity basketball team. She had a banner season last year, leading the Centennial League's Northeast Conference in scoring as a sophomore.
Ward said her success last year gave her confidence coming into this season.
"I was excited to come to Port," she said. "I wanted to help out the team. I was looking forward to it. I knew I could make a difference."
Ward noticed an immediate difference between the Centennial League and the Orange County League. The Centennial League has no shot clock, so the league features slower-paced play.
Ward said her game is better suited to the faster tempo in the OCL. Port Jervis coach Luann McCarthy agrees..
"She likes to drive the baseline. She also can step outside and shoot from the wing spot," McCarthy said. "She also can take a (3-pointer). She's an all-around player."
Ward, who plays AAU ball during the off-season, said the two leagues are comparable in terms of talent level.
Ward's early success has come as no surprise to McCarthy, who saw Ward play at Delaware Valley.
"I saw her as a freshman in the Delaware Valley tournament, that was the first time," McCarthy said. "She was very strong going to the basket. She could drive the baseline. She played real well for a freshman.
"I knew coming in that she led the conference in scoring last year, so I knew she could score. I knew she could make a difference in the team."
Ward's play has drawn attention from opposing teams, which are incorporating defensive schemes specifically designed to stop her.
"I get double-teamed a lot since other people now know who I am," she said. "But that just opens it up," for teammates.

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