JM girls don’t play second fiddle
Fred Jeter | 2/1/2024, 6 p.m.
Some might contend that the John Marshall High girls basketball team plays in the shadow of JM’s frequent-state champion boys squad.
If so, Coach Virgil Burton’s young women are casting some mighty long shadows of their own on the North Side and beyond.
The JM girls have reached the Class 2, state semifinals the past two seasons and Coach Burton suggests the best might be yet to come.
“In some ways, we may be stronger than the last two years,” Coach Burton said. “We have better shooters, are more versatile in what we do … and we play great defense … we think of ourselves as a defensive team. We want to create as much pressure as we can.”
Over the past four seasons (no season in 2020-21), JM is 68-37 under Coach Burton, who doubles as a Richmond Police officer.
Missing from the past two seasons is All-State Jaedyn Cook, now playing at East Carolina, but there is still plenty of talent left on the roster.
Like the JM boys team that is closely associated with Team Loaded Travel (an amateur basketball organization), the girls also polish their skills with the female version of Team Loaded.
Coach Burton coaches both the U-15 and U-17 Team Loaded outfits that play in spring and summer.
The Justices began this week 12-5 with all the losses to teams from North Carolina, Florida and Northern Virginia. The team was coming off lopsided wins over Douglas Freeman (67-23) and Hermitage (58-19).
JM was ranked seventh in the area MaxPreps poll, which includes all public and private schools of all enrollment classifications.
Here’s what Coach Burton is saying about his current lineup:
Yasmin Hall (5-foot-7 junior): “A returning starter; the experience she gained in summer development league is paying off … had nearly a triple double against Hermitage.”
Janiyaha Pickett (5-foot-7 senior): “Has all the leadership qualities; holds everyone accountable. Other girls look up to her like a mom.”
Kiyah Lewis (6-foot junior): “Kiyah, a tall wing and shooting guard, is a transfer from TPLS Christian … we found out about her through Team Loaded.”
Kayden Jones (6-foot senior): “She packs a heavy punch; creates lots of space as a passer; she attends Franklin Military but is allowed to play for us.”
R’Mia Crutchfield (6-foot-2 senior): “Mia is my post player … she’s Shaq-like, strong and powerful.”
Tiara “TT” Herron (5-foot-7 freshman): “Tiara is our sixth man… a dynamic lefty.”
Other talented players include Jerri Jones, Le’nasia McCants, Rah’Janae Johnson, Geada Echols, Logan Rose and Shaqira Fields.
The Class 2 champions will be determined in March at VCU’s Siegel Center. Don’t be surprised to see two sets of JM players being crowned.