Lady Dukes girls basketball lays a foundation in their 1st season back

Posted by Jeremy Tepper on 3/7/2023

On the surface, it might seem that it hasn’t been an ideal season for the Lady Dukes basketball team.

On Monday, the team lost to Baldwin 35-12, dropping to 1-10 on the season. But look a little closer, and the Lady Dukes exhibit a lot of heart and effort. That effort, along with fundamentals, is what Duquesne City coach Latoya Singleton has most tried to ingrain in her team in their first season back since 2007.

“The main thing is just learning this sport. A lot of these girls hadn’t played before this season, and they’re getting a lot better,” Singleton said. “The girls are giving their all. They play to the whistle. They play from the time the game starts until the time the game ends. They don’t give up, no matter the score.” 

For some of the players, this season represented the first time they played organized basketball. It’s been a process getting everybody up to speed, but in that process, Singleton has seen a love for basketball spark within the team.

Earlier in the season, Singleton took the Lady Dukes to watch the Woodland Hills high school girls basketball team. Her team was in awe, she said, seeing the players’ skill as something they’ll strive for.

“Some of them really want to play. Some of them talk about wanting to go to the WNBA,” Singleton said. “That’s a big difference, because when we first started a lot of them were just playing just to play. Now, they really like playing.”

Duquesne City honored its 8th grade players before the game, giving them baskets of appreciation. The team has five 8th graders this season — A’ryah Scott, Armani Campbell, Maleah Powell, Kimari Middlebrook and Journey Tyler-Jones — and Singleton said they’ve all played a big part in providing leadership and laying the foundation for Duke teams to come.

“I’m gonna miss them,” Singleton said. “I hope the 7th grade girls can step up and fill their shoes, because those 8th grade girls work a lot. They work hard.”

In the coming months, Singleton is focused on continuing to build that foundation. She’d like  to introduce girls in the area to basketball sooner, in hopes of building a feeder program for the middle school. In a way, that process has already started, as Singleton said she’s had a number of girls tell her that they want to join the team next season.

“It will be a big change soon,” Singleton said.