Girls’ basketball | Season preview

Boyd Anderson’s Natora Landers finds refuge from life’s woes on court

 

Natora Landers is the unequivocal leader of a talented Cobras team, but has endured tragedies and adversity in her personal life.

 
Boyd Anderson's Natora Landers drives to the basket against West Broward's Marly Delrio (11) on Nov. 12, 2013.
Boyd Anderson's Natora Landers drives to the basket against West Broward's Marly Delrio (11) on Nov. 12, 2013.
Patrick Farrell / Miami Herald Staff

SEASON OUTLOOK

KEY DATES

Dec. 20-21: South Florida Holiday Showcase; Dec. 27-30: Junior Orange Bowl Classic, Coral Gables; Dec. 27-30: Queen of Palm Classic, Fort Myers; Jan. 17-18: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Super Showcase; Jan. 23-25: BCAA Big 8 Tournament, South Plantation High; Jan. 27-Feb. 1: Districts; Feb. 6: Regional quarterfinals; Feb. 11: Regional semifinals; Feb. 14-15: Regional finals; Feb. 18-22: State finals, Lakeland.

Defending state champions: 8A - Orlando Dr. Phillips; 7A - Gainesville Buchholz; 6A - Orlando Edgewater; 5A - Dillard; 4A - Jacksonville Ribault; 3A - Daytona Beach Father Lopez; 2A -Tallahassee FAMU; 1A - Santa Rosa Beach South Walton.

Top 10 teams (8A-5A)

1. Dillard

2. Nova

3. American Heritage

4. Coconut Creek

5. Northeast

6. Flanagan

7. South Broward

8. St. Thomas Aquinas

9. Cardinal Gibbons

10. Boyd Anderson

15 Players to watch (8A-5A): Ashley Saintigene, Northeast, So. C; Bernadette Devaney, Nova, Sr. F; Briana Green, Dillard, Sr. F; Stephania Oramas, Flanagan, Sr. F; Delise Williams, Coconut Creek, Sr. G; Kiani Lurry, Nova, Jr. G; Trellanie English-Lurry, Nova, Sr, G; Natora Landers, Boyd Anderson, Sr. G; Shantavia Dobson, Northeast, Sr. G; Samantha Johnson, American Heritage, Jr. G; Briyana Lloyd, South Broward, Sr. F/C; Mary K. Moore, St. Thomas Aquinas, So. C; Jamesha Paul, Dillard, Jr. G; Sarah Cooper, Douglas, Sr. C; Hayley Duren, American Heritage, So. C; Diamond Williams, Cardinal Gibbons, Sr. G.

Top 10 teams (4A-1A)

1. Coral Springs Charter

2. Zion Lutheran

3. Sagemont

4. Calvary Christian

5. Pine Crest

6. Coral Springs Christian

7. Sheridan Hills

8. Highlands Christian

9. North Broward Prep

10. Westminster Academy

15 Players to watch (4A-1A): Alex Spring, Calvary Christian, Sr. G; Jessica Black, Sagemont, Sr. G; Kanesha Battle, Zion Lutheran, So. G; Brianna Battle, Zion Lutheran, Fr. G; Erica Correa, Sagemont, Sr. G; Chelsey Hall, Coral Springs Charter, Fr. G; Emily Williams, Coral Springs Charter, Sr. G; Destiny Waters, Coral Springs Charter, Fr. G; Leah Smith, Coral Springs Charter; Kelsey Marshall, Sagemont, Fr. G; Ebony Griffin, Sagemont, Jr. F; Caitlyn McCluskey, Sheridan Hills, Jr. F; Cici Wojcik, Coral Springs Charter, Sr. C; Natasha Patullo, Sheridan Hills, Jr. G; Samantha Provenzano, Sagemont, So. G.

OTHER PLAYERS TO WATCH:

American Heritage: Krystal Moncrief, Skyla Osceola, Mailani Perez; Calvary Christian: Nadiah Isaac; Cardinal Gibbons: Michelle Cohen, Ayanna Armstead, Daniella Molinari, Christa Tumminello; Coconut Creek: Destiny Frazier, Tanease Richardson; Cooper City: Chelsea Vinton, Nicole Compres; Coral Glades: Imani Cox, Ashley Boykins; Coral Springs: Tanisha Clarke, Raven Moore; Deerfield Beach: Victoria Hadler, Brinesha Powell; Dillard: Jade Wyatt, Tierra Wilkes, Amber Lee, Regine Grier; Douglas: Sarah Cooper, Ashley Arinus, Deja Enos; Blanche Ely: Stacey Jennings, Mikelai Clark; Flanagan: Patricia Albano, Mikiah Harrigan, Dymond Cogdell; Northeast: Nailah Delinois, Ashley Saintigene, Cabria Lee, Crystal Gordon; Nova: Deja Roberts, Rishonti Cowart, Akeyla Johnson; North Broward Prep: Natacia Lubin, Delaney Peele; Pompano Beach: Sue Ferrer, Taylor Scanlon, Alexis Kerr; Sagemont: Kandice Smith, Sinora Cole, Meagan Rucker; St. Thomas Aquinas: Nastolgia Smith, Natalie McNerney, Kiki Carrabes; South Broward: Alexis Brito, Brittney Jackson, Cierra Ingraham, Amanda Hessler, Shante Walker; South Plantation: Vabrice Wilder, Fasheeba Funeus; Taravella: Danielle Kamicka, Taylor Adams, Mariah Triplett; Western: Leslie Torres, Reesa Lawrence. Westminster Academy: Katie Ferraguti, Brooke Oman; Zion Lutheran: Tyesha Battle, Briana Lett, Matania Pauyo.

FABIAN LYON


flyon@MiamiHerald.com

It started with a favorite uncle dying of cancer. Then a cousin, in what some believe was a case of mistaken identity, being killed under a hail of gunfire by the police.

As if Boyd Anderson senior guard Natora Landers hadn’t endured enough heartache in recent months, she sustained a concussion while being robbed of her cellphone on a walk through her neighborhood.

“I have questioned why all this has happened to me,” Landers said. “There are other kids my age that just live their lives, everything is good for them. I just put it like everything happens for a reason. Eventually I will have my time to shine.”

The 2013-14 basketball season couldn’t have arrived soon enough for Landers, who expects to channel the strength drawn from overcoming adversity into Boyd Anderson’s bid for a state title.

It won’t be easy. Northeast, Broward’s biggest surprise last season, is the hands-down favorite to win District 14-7A, while Blanche Ely and Fort Lauderdale also loom as potential roadblocks.

Landers, Kenya Lindo, Naomi Ariss and Krystal Goldsby are four returning starters for Boyd Anderson.

That familiarity, the hard-nosed defense Boyd Anderson plays under coach Lawrence Hanna, along with the added size of 6-0 freshmen Aaliyah Nelson and Ronisha Lewis, gives Boyd Anderson a shot.

“I think we can push Northeast,” Hanna said. “They have a lot of talent, but we just have to play tough the whole game. We have to trust each other. If we do that for four quarters, we will be all right.”

After suffering double-digit losses to Northeast last season, the Cobras will find out how much they have closed the gap on Dec. 6 when they host the Hurricanes, and Jan. 7 when they visit Northeast.

Boyd Anderson will go as far as Landers, who has staked out a reputation as a hard-nosed point guard, will take them.

Last season, Landers averaged 14.5 points and a team-high 9.5 rebounds to earn All-Broward third-team honors.

Landers gives the Cobras the rare talent of outrebounding bigger players despite standing only 5-7, and one of the best at absorbing contact and finishing around the basket.

“My rebounding comes as a surprise when people hear I’m 5-7,” Landers said. “A lot of players don’t like contact with big people. Well I do. If the ball is there, I’m going to get it. If they get it, I’m going to take it.”

Hanna said Landers’ improved perimeter game and emphasis as a playmaker will be key to the Cobras this season.

“Natora has been working on her three-point shot, it will be very important to us,” Hanna said. “Last year, opponents started closing in and taking charges. Her three-point shot will definitely open up a lot of stuff for the whole team. We need her to do it all every night.”

Already helping to support a one-parent household with a part-time job, Landers said dealing with the loss of two family members and then getting beat up during the robbery left her in an emotional funk.

Ultimately, Landers found refuge from her misfortunes and a renewed desire to excel in basketball by playing pickup games.

“I feel like basketball is my life,’’ Landers said. “When I am going through stuff, I am able to go out there and play the game. All the obstacles I go through is a test to see how strong I am. Even sometimes when I go through it and break down I end up being stronger. I got to make it.”

Read more Broward High Schools stories from the Miami Herald

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