Veteran Chapel Hill High girls basketball coach Sherry Norris’ teams have won 510 games in her 35 seasons as the Tigers head coach and the Tigers are expected to add a lot more victories this season.
The Tigers return their starting lineup from a club that played in the NCHSAA 3A state championship game. Chapel Hill lost to Charlotte Harding in the finals, 56-52, but look capable of dashing back to the championship game again this season.
Norris has a 510-375 record, including the 30-2 mark last year and a 24-2 state semifinal club in 2011-12. The team’s only regular-season loss last year was a 42-33 setback to Northern Nash on Jan. 2, coming off the holiday break.
“I think we’re better than we were last year,” Norris said. “We’ll miss Laura Musalem and what she did for us defensively as a senior last year. She didn’t score a lot, but she was a catalyst for the team with her defensive pressure. I’m waiting to see who’ll step up to do that this year.”
Leading the veterans are a pair of four-year starters: Jamella Smith, who averaged a team-high 11.8 points, plus 5.9 rebounds and 3.0 assists, and Bucknell recruit Catherine Romaine, who averaged 10.7 points, 7.2 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.6 blocks.
They’ve come a long way since their 11-11 season as freshmen. Over the past three years, Chapel Hill has lost just seven games when both Smith and Romaine were in the lineup.
Both were name the N.C. coaches’ 2013 all-district team. Romaine also was the Eastern Regional most valuable player and the Tigers’ MVP. Smith was the Carolina-6 female player of the year and MVP of the conference tournament,
Junior Raziyah Farrington averaged 10.7 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.6 steals.
Norris has added newcomer Page Timothy, a 6-0 senior who didn’t play basketball last year, to the front court along with the 6-3 Romaine.
Chapel Hill hosts East Chapel Hill on Friday — girls at 6 p.m. and boys at 8 p.m.
Others have question marks
East Chapel Hill could be better than last year. The wildcats have more scoring punch and more experience.
Carrboro will be without all-time leading scorer Diamond Tyson, who took Carrboro from a cellar-dweller in its conference to the Carolina-12 championship.
J. Mike Blake of the Cary News and W.E. Warnock of the C.H. News contributed to this report.