Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local Sports

April 19, 2014

Hot Flashes strut ball skills for ministry

BLUEFIELD — The women of southern West Virginia’s glorious basketball past showed some younger girls that they “still got game” on Saturday afternoon.

The Hot Flashes, all alumnae of McDowell County schools, took a 37-33 victory in double overtime against Team Dominant in an entertaining game at the Bluefield Recreation Center that raised money and awareness for a local outreach ministry.

Proceeds went to Open Heart Ministries, a Bluefield-based non-profit alliance which has the goal to help provide temporarily homeless people with living skills and job skills.

“I just wanted to do something, giving back,” said Dreama Huckleberry, 53. “I’m just glad to give back.” Huckleberry, now a resident of Graham, N.C., played for Northfork and then for West Virginia State College (now University).

Georgetta Dickerson, 52, of Keystone, said, “I thought it was nice. It was something for us to do.”

The Hot Flashes showed flashes of the textbook basketball knowledge that powered the now-defunct Northfork High School girls team to four state championships.

They paid attention to defensive rebounding, they ran the floor and they passed the ball, dishing it to the player with the best shot at the basket.

Dickerson said, “That never went away. We were a little bit slow about it — but it was still in there.”

Team Dominant, consisting of young girl basketball players primarily from Bluefield, led 12-5 after the first quarter and 21-7 at halftime. They maintained a 29-15 advantage going into the fourth quarter.

The organizers tinkered with the rules, sometimes allowing seven-on-five play.

The Hot Flashes outscored Team Dominant 16 to 2 in the fourth period. Kimberley Newbill’s putback with 20 seconds left gave the Hot Flashes a 31-29 lead, but with 7 seconds to go, Shautina Reed’s shot for Team Dominant found the inside of the rim to send the game to overtime, 31-31.

Newbill looped in a layup to restore a lead for the older women. Erica Horton drove the lane and scored for the younger girls with 2.2 seconds left for a 33-33 score, requiring the second 3-minute overtime stanza.

The Hot Flashes’ Catharine Lacy sank a field goal halfway through that overtime. Dominique Newbill, a Mount View grad and Kimberley’s niece, stole the ball with about a minute left, drove downcourt, and was fouled. Her free throws provided the final margin.

As soon as the final whistle sounded, a woman in the stands called out, “Good job, ladies! Good job!”

Dickerson said about the latter part of the game, “We had some backup. We got our wind back, and that was IT!”

Dominique Newbill led the Hot Flashes with 15 points, all coming after halftime. Latonia Foster had 10 points; Huckleberry and Kimberley Newbill each scored four points.

Leading scorers for Team Dominant were Jamaikah Wallace, with 17 points, and Furby Wallace with 10.

Kimberley Newbill, a Mount View graduate, said, “We had a ball. It was fun. It was good to see the community come out and support us. And it was good to see the (younger) girls playing to the caliber, to the level that they showed. It’s good to see that they’re playing the game!”

Foster, of Northfork, started playing organized ball at Keystone Elementary. Her mother, who was present on Saturday, said Latonia was the first girl to play on a boys’ basketball team. Foster was on the 1979 girls state championship team at Northfork High.

“Before the game? I felt good about the game,” she said. “I knew these young girls were in shape. I thank God for giving me the strength to do it.”

She complimented the team’s centers, Huckleberry and Carlotta Young, both of whom were somewhat limited because of knee problems.

“They just wanted to be on the team, to give us the support we needed,” Foster said. “That’s old school. That’s what we do — support one another.”

Young, the oldest of the Hot Flashes at age 54, said, “We turned it around.”

She said that when the game started, “I thought I was back in Northfork. ... When I saw the old coach (Ron Tote), I had to go out and let him know I still had a little bit.”

Talking about the fourth quarter comeback, she said, “We knew something’s got to happen. We’ve got to go out and play some defense (and) that’s what we did.”

She added, “I got two points. I sure did!”

Tote coached the Northfork High girls beginning in 1975, the year before the governing body of West Virginia prep sports offered a state championship.

He said he shared a big collection of newspaper clippings and old photos with the players prior to the game.

“They were so tickled to see that,” Tote said. “We had a good time, talking about everything.”

Paula Newbill Mlynczak, who organized the Hot Flashes and helps coordinate Open Heart Ministries, said the first outing was “great.”

She said the game allowed more in the community to find out about the alliance. “(People) wanted to know why we were doing it,” she said. “This gave us the opportunity to tell people about Open Heart Ministries, and to tell them about the love of Jesus Christ.”

Mlynczak is already planning a rematch between Team Dominant and the Hot Flashes for sometime next month at the same location.

— Contact Tom Bone at

tbone@bdtonline.com

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