PLANTATION — Thanks in large part to the Stubbs sisters, American Heritage School’s junior varsity girls basketball team exceeded expectations this season.
“We were supposed to have a losing season this year, and we’re 6-2,” Heritage coach Taylor Singery said with one game left in the season.
Tiana Stubbs and her younger sister – by 11 months – December Stubbs only started playing basketball about five years ago, but the rapid ascension by the eighth-graders from the Hollywood Reservation was evident this year as they formed a dynamic duo in their first season at Heritage.
“They play well together. Their chemistry is insane,” Singery said.
At 5-foot-9, Tiana handles the power forward job while December, who is a bit shorter, runs the offense as the point guard.
“Tiana does a really good job rebounding, getting it out to her sister and running the court, and then December does a really good job looking for her,” Singery said.
That scenario played often in Heritage’s final home game Dec. 14 against Cardinal Gibbons. Time after time, Tiana snagged defensive rebounds and fed December, who used her speed and ball-handling skills to lead fast breaks that culminated with scoring chances for her sister.
“Usually I bring it down to the right and she goes down the left for the layup and I throw it to her, and she makes it,” December said.
Tiana scored a game-high 20 points, which included a pair of 3-point plays that helped keep the game close. Heritage only had one bench player compared to seven for Gibbons.
Even though there were no subs for the Stubbs, the sisters combined to score all but four of their team’s points in a 38-32 loss.
Tiana started racking up points as soon as she put on Heritage’s white and black jersey for the first time. She scored 30 points in her debut. She notched 21 points in a win against Pine Crest that also featured 16 points from December.
The sisters’ solid season earned them temporary promotions to varsity, where they made the most of their chances. In a varsity game Dec. 8 against Pompano Beach, Tiana scored 10 points and December contributed four points as Heritage cruised to a lopsided victory.
Seeing their daughters’ names in box scores in the Sun-Sentinel newspaper the following day brought smiles to Glenardo and Victoria Stubbs, who have watched Tiana and December fall in love with the sport.
“They started [playing] at home,” Glenardo said. “They got so interested in it, they started going to the gym.”
By the time the girls arrived in Plantation this fall, they had plenty of playing experience, having suited up for Seminole teams in NAYO, NABI and other Native tournaments.
“I’m so proud of them. They’re making something of themselves,” Glenardo said. “I’m encouraging them with their education because you need education and talent in order to achieve in college and then professionally.”
If they want to attain their dreams of playing in college and the WNBA, Tiana and December realize there’s plenty of hard work involved. That’s why when their JV practices end, they head to the Howard Tiger Recreation Center for additional workouts.
As soon as Heritage’s JV season ended before the Christmas break, Tiana and December were expected to be brought up to varsity for the remainder of its season. Singery said it’s just a matter of time before the sisters have a permanent home on the varsity squad.
“They’re going to do great,” Singery said.