Stratton cousins and Sussex County kinship
Pick-up game - The Stratton cousins Ambria and Raeonna, now seniors, have started the last four years for Sussex Central and basketball coach Ron Dukes, who has won more than 200 games in his career. The Golden Knights have won a state tournament game the last seven years in a row. Late in the game Feb. 27, with the lead against Tatnall, it was “bring it out, bring it out,” as the defense had to come out and get “public schooled,” chasing the yo-yo on a string dribbling exhibition before somebody named Stratton took the ball to the basket. The irony when guarding the Stratton girls is you don’t have to come out and pick them up, because they are coming to your house versus zone or straight-up man defense; it’s just what they do. If they were Cape athletes, I’d start figuring out kinship. Let’s just say Rashad Stratton, a state champion wrestler in 2018, is related, and Rashad is first cousin to Andre Currie of Cape.
Kinship in court - I popped into Court 2 unscheduled Feb. 25 having missed a mandatory appearance for no insurance card onboard in Bethany. I was ready to argue memory issues, but no one cared. They just sent me through the door with nameplate Court countersunk into the wood. The judge came through a side door; it reminded me of the Marx Brothers movie “Room Service.” The judge’s name was Sipple. I know this because it was written on his desktop nameplate. I spoke to the judge like I was a regular person because there are many irregulars with neck tattoos that hit court and Dollar General in the same stop. “Judge, are you related to Jana who is Zach Simpler’s mom?” The judge pondered the question and I added, “The late state trooper Jay is her dad.” “Yes, we’re related through my grandfather’s generation.” They were cousins, but all I thought was, “We are talking Sipple kinship matrix.” My degree in anthropology is in play every day. So, $112 and I was outta there.
Pop pop name drop - Game site managers continue to wear me out. Feb. 26 at the Temple sports complex, I was the only photographer on the sidelines for the Lafayette at Temple women’s lacrosse game. I trudged and trucked to the Girard Avenue end of the field to be close to the trolley cars. I had a 500-meter telephoto lens on a pika pole, what some may call a professional rig. A student intern by way of Downingtown East (I interview everyone) said, “Sir, you’re not allowed to go behind the endline.” I walked right into my own elapsing life joke. “Do I look like I was born yesterday?” She smiled and said, “Definitely not.” Later, I went to the other end and sat in a chair out of bounds so I could get the low-to-high photo without kneeling like a Catholic at High Mass. A young guy game up, “Sir, could you move back behind the balls?” There are balls rimming the field like baby claymores. I got up and moved back and heard a voice from the stands “Yea, Fred,” motioning me to move back. It was Davey, the Inclusion Kid, ready to bust my chops. Lafayette upset Temple 13-10. It was the first win for the Leopards over the Owls since 1991.
Freshmen flash - I have come to the conclusion that the “next level” in sports is a step down, especially if you come from a solid high school program with great coaching and championships won. And yes, everyone can play at the next level. The key is to get noticed first and then get time to prove what you’re all about. Lindsay Monigle, all-state attack at Cape, is now a freshman at West Chester University. She scored her first collegiate goal on one shot (shoot more, Lindsay) as the Golden Rams beat Georgian Court University (never heard of them either) 17-4. West Chester gets great athletes in all sports. That’s the way it has always been. There are more women carrying sticks to class (hockey and lacrosse) there than any college I ever attended.
Snippets - Randy Rickards plays basketball and is a starter for Baltimore City Community College, which I mistakenly called Baltimore City College, which is actually a high school. No wonder I’m confused all the time. The Panthers are 22-7 on the season and ready to begin play in the Region XX tournament against Hagerstown Community College. Randolph Macon basketball (25-3) will host Morrisville State Friday, March 1, in the first round of the Division III NCAA championship tournament. Freshman Ian Robertson (Cape) has played in all 28 games, averaging 6.3 points and 13.4 minutes of play. Do the math; if he plays 40 minutes, he’ll average 19 per game. Spring practices, all outside sports, begin Friday, March 1. The weather will be wet, then just cold. If we had only kept The Little Big House. Go on now, git!