Daily news: ‘I’m smaller, but I’m faster’

Fred Jeter | 1/25/2024, 6 p.m.
Anyone using the excuse of being too small for basketball needs to take a lesson from Cherish Daily. Inch for ...

Anyone using the excuse of being too small for basketball needs to take a lesson from Cherish Daily.

Inch for inch and pound for pound, the 5-foot-2, 115-pound Armstrong High junior might be the city’s top baller.

“I’m smaller, but I’m faster and I can really jump,” said the Wildcat guard who averages 28 points, with a high of 45 against Patrick Henry.

Scoring is not all No. 5 in orange and blue does.

“We don’t have the best statistics, but I’d estimate Cherish gets seven rebounds a game and 10 to 12 steals,” said Coach Molly Garthwaite.

“She is a tenacious defender, turning defense into offense.”

Here’s how Daily describes her court larceny in squeaky sneakers: “Players tend to do the same things over and over. I pay attention and set up my body … then I try to pull it off.”

Under New Jersey native Coach Garthwaite, a former Mary Washington University player, the Wildcats, are making an East End comeback.

Under different coaches, the ’Cats were 7-15 in 2019, 5-16 in 2020, 1-13 in 2022 and 5-15 last year. There was no 2021 season because of the pandemic.

With the victory over Patrick Henry, Armstrong improved to 6-3 (with four straight wins) this go-round. The postseason playoffs have become a reality.

AHS’ winning streak ended Jan.19 with a loss to Henrico, despite Daily’s 31 points.

In spite of that, the future looks bright for AHS. Daily is part of a young lineup that includes senior Toni Goodwin, juniors Cassidy Rozario-Rock and Heaven Cary, plus 6-foot-2 sophomore Kamillah Brown, who Coach Garthwaite said, “I stole from the track team.”

Daily helps the ’Cats in so many ways, including a positive approach.

“Cherish is incredible in how she makes others believe,” Coach Garthwaite said. “She’s a goofball, hilarious … but when she steps on the court, we all feed off her energy.”

Daily puts it like this: “If I’m in a good mood, everyone seems to feel the same. I don’t want to be in a bad mood because then others shut down.”

Daily started playing basketball when she was “3 or 4,” she said, and played at Franklin Military School before enrolling at Armstrong and becoming a freshman starter.

She averaged about 20 points last season and was selected to the All-Region 3B squad as a sophomore.

Her goals for this year are “to score 1,000 points and help us make the playoffs,” she said.

The 45-point outburst versus Patrick Henry, likely a school record, put her just below 900 for this season. At the pace she’s going, she is likely to score more than 1,500 points for her four-season career on Cool Lane.

Daily played travel hoops for Virginia Havoc in the past but says she might not play this spring and summer because of family financial concerns.

Despite her diminutive stature, she is most definitely looking forward to continuing her inspiring play on the college level.

“People watching Cherish really don’t think she’s small,” Garthwaite said. “She plays so big.”