Signing Day: Five Trojans secure scholarships

Published 10:58 pm Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Wednesday was a historic day for Charles Henderson High School and ladies athletics as five student-athletes secured scholarships at an afternoon ceremony, including the signing of Maori Davenport and Tatyana Siler to major Division I basketball programs.

In addition to Davenport’s signing with Rutgers University in New Jersey, and Siler signing with the Air Force Academy in Colorado, the ceremony also saw Sydni Garrett sign with Chipola College in Mariana, Emma Kirkpatrick with Huntingdon in Montgomery and Graci Williams inked with Lurleen B. Wallace in Andalusia.

At least three Lady Trojans have signed Division I scholarships in the past, but never have two Lady Trojan basketball players signed with Division I programs nor five total female athletes in one day. Previous Division I signees for Lady Trojan basketball have included India Blakely with Mercer, Erica Henderson with Alabama State and Valerie Jones with Jacksonville of Florida.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“This is a great day for girls athletics to have five players sign in one day,” said CHHS head softball coach Robin Snyder, “And especially two basketball players signing Division I scholarships. This is a proud day for girls athletics.”

Davenport and Siler both have played for head coach Dyneshia Jones since the eighth grade, and Jones has expected this day for some time.

“I knew from day one, in elementary school, that these girls would be something special,” said Jones. “This is the day I am most proud of, for them to get free schooling, and that is what they have worked so hard for. There are so many scholarships available every year, and this is what I want all of our girls and students to see. With hard work and dedication, you can go far in life.”

The three Lady Trojan softball players were proud to have the opportunity to play beyond high school and at the college level.

“I’m very excited, and it is something I’ve worked towards my whole life, and I am looking forward to see what I can do,” said Williams, who plays catcher for CHHS.

Kirkpatrick, a pitcher, added, “I’ve always wanted to play college softball, and this is very much a reality now.”

Garrett also pitches for the Lady Trojans, and while she has always had the goal of playing college softball, she has had only one school in mind.

“Chipola has always been my dream college, so to have the opportunity to play there is an amazing thing,” said Garrett. “They are a great school and I am excited to see that is going to happen next.”

Davenport, a senior center, averaged 18 points, 12 rebounds, 5 blocks and 1.7 assists per game as a junior last season as the Lady Trojans won their first state title ever. Over the summer, she helped lead the United States to a gold medal at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Mexico City.

“This all is mind-blowing, actually,” Davenport said of signing day finally arriving. “I never saw this coming so fast.”

For Siler, a forward, who had 12 points and six rebounds in the state championship final last season, choosing a university with academics was as important as any school with a great basketball program.

“The Air Force Academy is a really good school to go to academically, as well as basketball,” said Siler. “I chose Air Force because it is so prestigious and I always wanted to go to a good academic school. I did not always really care about how good the basketball program was, I was just like more concerned with the academics and the benefits.”

CHHS Lady Trojan basketball is set to open their season in Atlanta the day after Thanksgiving, Nov. 23, in the Holiday Hoops-giving Tournament against Collins Hill, Ga., and will play at home against Luverne Nov. 26. Softball will begin its season in mid-February.