Northeast Florida Sports Jacksonville

Ribault’s Empire State of Mind at Dick’s National Championships

New York City, New York- The Ribault Lady Trojans Basketball team boarded a plane early Thursday morning from Jacksonville Florida, and landed in the Big Apple with one thing on their mind; winning another championship. The Trojans are one of four teams invited to play in the High School National Championships. The other teams in the tournament include, Riverdale Baptist (MD), Seton Catholic Prep (AZ), and St. Francis (GA). Ribault is the only public school competing in the tournament.




Ribault rolls into the tournament on a 12 game winning streak at 28-1. The Trojans won a Florida State Championship in February, defeating Bishop Moore 60-37 in the Class 5A title game. It was the Trojan’s third state title in four years, and 11th state title in school history.image On the season they averaged 70.3 points per game, and a staggering 17 steals per game. These stats define a Trojans team that thrives on scoring points and applying pressure. The points come from two juniors on the team, Rennia Davis and DayNeshia Banks. At 6 foot 1 inches, Davis led the team in scoring with 20.2 points per game. Her partner in crime Banks, was second on the team in scoring with 18.4 points per game. Banks also led the team in steals averaging 3.8 per game. Davis averaged 3.2, and senior Nola Carter averaged 2.7 steals per game. Ribault’s versatile roster makes them very tough to defend. Senior Kayla Rogers can score points and play defense, as she is 3rd on the team in scoring with 11 points per game and 4th on the team in stelas with 2.2. Senior Praise Russell completes a starting five that plays extremely well together. Russell is a catalyst for her team as when she is on from the field, they are very hard to defeat.

The Trojans took to practice Thursday afternoon at Cathedral High School. It was a very heated practice even though the 50 degree New York weather provided a much colder climate for them. All indications pointed to a team ready to face any all challengers. Their first challenge will be a good one as they face a team out of Arizona in Seton Catholic Prep. The Sentinels are tall, Leeanne Wirth stands 6 foot 3 inches, and Jenn Wirth stands at 6 feet 2 inches. The sisters are literally twin towers that can cover the entire court. They lead a Seton Catholic team who won a fifth AIA Division II title in seven years and eighth overall in Arizona. They are 31-1 on the season and ranked number one in the state of Arizona.


History will be on display in various forms when these two teams take the court. They will be playing at New York’s storied High School Christ the King who’s basketball alumni include NBA star Lamar Odom, former NBA stars Jayson Willams, Speedy Claxton, and Kahlid Reeves. The girl’s have many current WNBA stars to look up to from Christ the King as well. Names like Chamique Holdsclaw, Tina Charles, and Sue Bird. Both Head Coaches in the game are two of the most decorated in their states. Ribault’s Head Coach Shelia Pennick was named the 2015-2016 Florida Dairy Farmers Girl’s Basketball Coach of the Year. It is the second time she has been honored with a State Coach of the Year award. She has three state titles.  Seton Prep’s Head Coach Karen Self won her 8th title and can become the winningest basketball coach in Arizona history with two more championships.

In the city that never sleeps, Ribault wont rest until they have achieved their ultimate goal. It’s that top of the world approach to the game that has them in position to win a second National Championship, (2003 Nike National Championship) and in an empire state of mind.