"It's All About The Game"

Bell is making comeback






Ron Bailey, Publisher

Program is resurgent.


January 8, 2014 - Last year Bell Multicultural High School was 2-16, a girls high school team not very competitive. This year, the Griffins are 3-9, 1-1 in District of Columbia Interscholastic Athletic Association play, have competed at a much higher level against greater competition. The change is obvious, with several reasons for it.

First off, look at the coaching staff, starting with head guy Reggie Taylor.

"Because of the different egos, basically what we did was keep them together off the court" said Taylor after practice last month, of molding his group. That includes "Playing well together all summer", traveling, and just hanging out with one another. Fundraisers have also pulled the Griffins closer.

Rayonna Marshall can score in bunches.

Taylor has had to build camaraderie amongst his ladies, given he has only a couple of holdovers from last season, his first as head Griffin. Rayonna Marshall, a 5'6" junior guard is a transfer from Carroll is capable of going off for 20 points any game. Freshman Dejaih Gallion, the team's 5'8" floor general runs the show, while sophomore shooting guard Talia Santana is the returning shooting guard.

When the Griffin's need some physical play, they call upon 5'3" ninth grader forward/guard Alexandria Hall. Yazmn Washington, the team's 5'7" senior forward provides energy, while Antaye Tucker, a 5'10" frosh, rebounding/space eating forward and Taylor's daughter, freshman Tanzania, gives guard depth off the bench. A total of eight new players, four of them being freshman. A quartet of the newcomers start - Marshall, Gallion, Tucker and Hall.

This cohesive, collection of talent has also been forged on the court, not only in the summertime but this season, via a challenging schedule. His non-conference slate has included "Friendship Collegiate, Friendly, the PG County champion, St. Mary's of Annapolis" New Jersey's Preddie, and local program Bullis. The Griffins took down St. Mary's, while battling Friendship tooth and nail.

A holiday tournament berth in South Carolina's Carolina Invitation was also challenging. The Griffins didn't come away with a win there, but right after Christmas faced three trying games, including facing Heathwood Episcopal and nationally acclaimed Aja Wilson. Two of their losses were by six and two points, respectively.

Making things much easier for player and coach is Bell, a school Taylor indicated is first amongst area high schools in AP Index, 34th nationally. Students have to interview and apply to Bell, which has been selected by national -level programs for support.

All of this is driven by Bell's staff, including its principal, Maria Tukeva. Per Taylor, all of this creates a situation in which "girls want to come here".

So far, the Griffins have a win over DCIAA foe and relative neighbor, Cardozo. Taylor and the ladies certainly expect more in conference.

Things are looking up at Bell. It looks like the Griffins could be flying soon.

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