Reaching for the stars

LELAND - In basketball, there are point guards and in more recent years the combo guard or point forward. But the Leland High School Lady Cubs girls basketball team may have a point center in the form of Corianna Wheatley. She can guard smaller players. She makes good decisions out of double teams and commands so much attention in the post. Because her ability to score in the paint commands so much attention, even when she misses shots, her teammates are in position to rebound the ball.

“I’ve coached Corianna since she was in the eighth grade and she’s a senior now,” said Leland head coach Patansy Miller-Hampton. “She was a wing player at first, but with her height and size, I asked her to change positions and play more with her back to the basket.”

Obviously her progression and development from being a perimeter player gives her an advantage over her opponents who play the five spot. Her reflexes and agility wooed the crowd on a nifty behind the back pass on a ball that was going out of bounds in a recent game against West Tally. The pass ended up in an open teammate’s hands for an uncontested three pointer.

“Coach Miller has always stressed that the game of basketball is more about skill and smarts and not so much about height,” said Wheatley. “I’ve started since I was in the eighth grade and you learn a lot just by playing for such a long time.

“I think I can play some point guard if I needed to.”

The six-foot tall senior hasn’t decided what college will be gushing over her skills on the court.

One message that this honors student made clear is that she is a student athlete.

“I make A’s and B’s in all my subjects,” she said with a gaping grin. “My favorite class is AP language and I plan to major in political science and minor in criminal justice in college.”

As her basketball draws to a close at Leland high, Lady Cubs fans can still get a few more glimpses of Corrianna in the burgundy when track and tennis seasons open up this spring.