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Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Local Spotlight: CIAA basketball players returning home for tournament 

Over the years, the Baltimore area has earned a reputation for its deep reservoir of basketball talent.

Several athletes from the city will be returning home to showcase their talent in the upcoming CIAA Basketball Tournament at Royal Farms Arena. Of the 12 CIAA member institutions, four have basketball players from Baltimore. 

Bowie State, the primary host for the tournament, has three student-athletes from Baltimore, while Lincoln, Shaw and St. Augustine’s have one player apiece from the city according to the team rosters, bringing the total number of CIAA basketball players with roots in Baltimore City to six.

Below are brief backgrounds on each of those six players.

Bowie State University:

  Jewel Porter is one of the few upperclassmen on the Bulldogs’ roster. The 6-foot-1 senior forward transferred to Bowie from Central Connecticut State University. Prior to playing at CCSU, she competed for Harford Community College. In high school, she guided Baltimore Polytechnic Institute – which has one of the most dynamic basketball programs in the area – to two state titles (2015, 2016) and a city championship in 2015.

  Khalia Turner will have her first conference tournament experience in her hometown. The 5-foot-7 freshman guard spent her high school career at the nationally acclaimed St. Frances Academy. 

  Mya Henson has appeared in one game this season and logged only seven minutes, so it is unclear whether she will play or how she will contribute during the tournament. The freshman guard-forward hails from the well-known Western High School.

  Lincoln University: 

  Janya Lilly, a second-year player for the Lions, also comes from the girls’ basketball program at Poly under the tutelage of Coach Kendall Peace. The 5-foot-7 guard scored a season-high 14 on Jan. 22 against Virginia Union and is averaging 6.8 points and three rebounds this season.

  Shaw University:

  Mackenzie Pollard was a standout at Western during her high school days. Now she is one of the key pieces for the Bears, averaging a team-high 12.6 points per game to go with 3.7 boards. The 5-foot-9 junior guard will look to use her scoring and playmaking ability to lead Shaw in the upcoming tournament.

  Saint Augustine’s University:

  Kyshon Tate is a 6-foot-8, 230-pound senior averaging 2.2 points and 3.3 rebounds for the Falcons. He netted a career-high 13 points against Charleston (W. Va.) earlier this season. Prior to suiting up for St. Augustine’s, the forward played for Hagerstown Community College after competing for the highly regarded Baltimore Polytechnic Institute.

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