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South Shore News

Sharks senior sets sights high for upcoming season

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Published:   |   Updated: July 12, 2013 at 12:51 AM
RIVERVIEW -

Senior guard Ashley Favors has high hopes for the Riverview High girls basketball team, and she's not shy about expressing them.

"(Winning) Districts and regionals, definitely," said Favors when asked about the squad's postseason prospects. "I think we either have the first- or second-best team in the county."

The Sharks are looking to bounce back this season - which tipped off at home against Blake High on Nov. 16 - following a disappointing result last year, when they bowed out in the first round of districts.

Coach Lelani Gordon, who has been with the team since Riverview High opened its doors in 1998, is enthusiastic but more cautiously optimistic about the squad's chances.

"We won both preseason games, so we're off to a good start," Gordon said. "We feel like we have a solid, up-and-coming team, but we also have high expectations for ourselves."

Gordon will count on Favors, the only senior on the team, to lead the relatively young Sharks.

"She's the best natural leader I've ever seen," Gordon said. "She's the kind of person who is the top dog in everything she does."

To that end, Favors remains her own harshest critic.

"To be honest, I don't think I've ever played to my fullest potential," she said. "I don't know if it's because I've been scared, but this year I'm playing for me."

She spent the first two years of her high school career at Bloomingdale before transferring to Riverview last year.

"In Bloomingdale, I had friends that I went to school with since the sixth grade, so it was definitely an adjustment," Favors said, crediting sophomore Faith Woodard, her cousin and teammate, for helping her make the adjustment.

She has already left her mark at Riverview High. Last year, she set the school record for the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 44.8 seconds. She also qualified for the state meet in that event, as well as the 4-by-400 relay.

"I actually only started running track to stay in shape for basketball," Favors said.

Now, Favors is considering running track on the collegiate level. She also wants to study biology or chemistry, but remains undecided on a school.

She remains certain on her team's prospects this season.

"If we gel and everyone buys into the program, I don't see anyone beating us," Favors said.

jceballos@tampatrib.com

(813) 627-4762

Get to know

Who: Ashley Favors

Age: 18

School: Riverview High

Grade: 12th

Sports: basketball and track and field

Future plans: Wants to run track and study biology or chemistry

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