December 31, 2009 8:02:00 AM
South Lamar High School girls basketball coach Josh Harper must feel like he has been sent a gift from above.
South Lamar''s future looks promising thanks to freshman guard Angel Cunningham.
Cunningham gave Harper high hopes for the future Monday when she scored a school-record 41 points against Hamilton in the South Lamar Invitational.
The left-hander had a record night by shooting from the outside and driving the ball to the basket.
"She made five 3-point shots," Harper said. "Most of those 3-point shots came from the left side. She has worked a lot on taking it in from the right side. She''ll start from the left and move to her right. She''ll dribble in and create opportunities to get to the line. She''s about figured it out on how to create points from all over the court."
Cunningham has scored in double figures all 11 games this season Her lowest scoring output has been 11 points.
South Lamar is just 2-9 season, but the Lady Stallions'' future looks bright, especially when you add Cunningham''s sister, Nasheema, to the mix.
Nasheema, a guard, scored her average, 16 points, against Hamilton.
"The future is nothing but bright for them," Harper said. "You''ve got Angel, who''s averaging just under 20 points, and Nasheema, who''s averaging right around 16. That''s basically been our scoring. That''s basically been our team. Everybody else -- the other three starters and the bench -- is averaging two to two and a half points per ballgame."
Angel and Nasheema are averaging double figures despite drawing double teams from opponents.
A love for the game of basketball has enabled the sisters to excel at a young age.
"They both have basketballs in their hands when the gym opens in the morning and they''re the last ones who have basketballs in their hands when the gym closes at night," Harper said. "They love the game, and you can tell it."
Harper believes Angel and Nasheema possess skills they can develop and take to the next level.
"(Angel) has all the potential in the world," Harper said. "If we can get her to focus on academics and make the classroom special to her just like the basketball court, she has all the potential to become anything she wants to be. I believe it can happen with Angel and Nasheema if they want it, and I believe they do want it."
With South Lamar set in the backcourt with the Cunningham sisters, Harper will look to build around them for the future.
"We just have to comb the halls to find post players and develop them with the post players we have," Harper said. "We''re going to get there. We''re young with our post players. We don''t have the size or experience underneath that most teams do. When we get that I think it will make Angel and Nasheema even better.
"If we can get a rebounding mentality about us, we''ll start to compete a little bit more than what we''ve been doing."
1. Woods introduced as Starkville High's new football coach HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
3. Ole Miss earns NCAA bid; Southern Mississippi left out COLLEGE SPORTS
4. Smith introduced as Starkville High's new athletic director HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
5. SEC wants 'level playing field' for camps, transfers COLLEGE SPORTS