Baltimore City school captures first girls’ basketball region title; Henderson scores 35 (VIDEO INTERVIEWS HERE!)


Kayla Henderson had 35 points and 11 assists for Coppin Academy in its Class 1A East Region girls’ basketball victory over Mardela Saturday at Coppin State University. The Eagles will play Prince George’s County’s Largo, Friday at Towson University in the 1A state final four.

While public school girls’ basketball teams were headed down the stretch of the regular season at the start of February, Coppin Academy was getting ready for the postseason. It was a calculated risk that paid off.

The Eagles are in the Class 1A state final four after routing Mardela from Wicomico County, 72-45, in the East Region final Saturday at Coppin State. Sophomore guard Kayla Henderson had 35 points and 11 assists for Coppin Academy.

The Baltimore City charter school, which is located on the Coppin State University campus, will play Prince George’s County’s Largo in a 1A state semifinal at Towson University’s SECU Arena. It’s the first postseason appearance for Coppin Academy (20-3 overall), which is under the jurisdiction of the city school system, but doesn’t compete in the city public league.

Coppin Academy’s last regular season match, a Feb. 5 match at Francis Scott Key in Carroll County was postponed due to weather and not made up. The Eagles’ last regular season action was Jan. 29.

“We wanted to go back to the basics,” said Eagles coach Ulysses Hardy. “Being so young with a lot of freshmen, we just wanted to get back to basic, conditioning, plus get some rest.”

Coppin Academy handed Havre de Grace, 63-12, in its first playoff match Feb. 23 in the sectional first round. After road victories at Bohemia Manor and Joppatowne, the Eagles got to make history at home.

Sophomore Tana Galloway finished with 12 points and eight rebounds, and Nyshae Weaver posted a double-double of 10 points and 14 rebounds. Armani Bank and Kayla Cook had 22 and 21 points, respectively, for Mardela.

“We kept everything the same, didn’t put too much pressure on them,” said Hardy. “We just told them defense is going to win this.”