By KYLE BENNETT & VANESSA DWYER
The Cumberland County Lady Dukes basketball team has been electric this season. As of February 24, the Lady Dukes have posted a record of 25-2. The team has reached the Region 19 Final Four in the Garden State Athletic Conference tournament and will take on Camden County College in the semi-final round on February 27. With the loss of All-American Alicia Cox to transfer, the team was not sure how the season would start off.
With all the incoming young talent, the Dukes silenced critics and started off the season with 13 straight wins.
Standout freshman Artaeja Loatman has averaged an outstanding 17.2 PPG and 9.8 RPG. Loatman was asked what it is like to balance her star play on the court, as well as maintaining her grades, “It’s hard to balance both because you have practice, games and then you have school work and tests to study for. Self-motivation is something I have used to succeed in the classroom and on the court.”
Loatman also stated that it is important to know that when you are a student athlete, student comes first.
Cumberland Freshman Guard Iesha Watson has contributed off the bench to lead the Lady Dukes to their dominance this season. “Being on your game on and off the court is key. Once you know your grades are where they should be, then that translates to success on the court.” Watson also said she’s about team first, “When the ball is in my hands, personally, I’m just thinking of how I can set us up to score, it’s never been about me.”
The Lady Dukes’ success has brought them together and they see each other as a family. Being together for practices day in and day out and the success during the games this year has made this one of the more unique teams at CCC.
Loatman has been named player of the week in the Garden State Athletic Conference multiple times this season and the team has rallied around one another to create the success they have shared this season. Continue following dukesathletics.com to keep up with the Lady Dukes run for a District 19 title.