Thursday, November 21, 2013

No place like home for Radford's Breshara Gordon

Breshara, brother Terry and Ava Gordon
Ava Gordon didn't need any fancy birthday presents this year.

Being able to watch daughter Breshara dribbling up and down the court in her own hometown was all the gift she needed.

"I can't tell you how much it means seeing her out there, especially on my birthday weekend," said Norfolk's Ava Gordon after her daughter's Radford Highlanders made stops at Norfolk State and Old Dominion Friday and Sunday. Breshara Gordon formerly starred at Norfolk's Lake Taylor High.

Evidently it also meant a lot to "Team Bre," the roughly 30-member contingent of siblings, aunts, uncles, friends and classmates who turned out in bold, Radford-red T-shirts in support of the Highlanders senior guard.

"Yeah, I saw them all up there," Gordon said with a smile. "It felt good."

Ironically, Breshara Gordon almost wasn't fit to perform at her own party. A victim of her second ACL injury in three years - one for each knee - the Highlanders guard was questionable to start the season.

That is, except to the mind and will of Breshara herself.

"This was the goal all through rehab, to be able to play in these games in Norfolk," she said.

Breshara wasn't out there half-stepping, either. Despite wearing a protective sleeve on her left knee and a brace on her right, Gordon said she felt great on the court. It showed in her play, too, as with Gordon operating with poise and discipline, the Highlanders played winning ball in both games for large stretches.

And when she sat down, things got away from the Highlanders. Against Norfolk State, the Highlanders trailed by just 40-36 when Gordon took a seat with 11:33 left. When she returned at the 8:34 mark, Radford was down nine. The Highlanders went on to lose 66-54.

Two days later, Radford trailed Old Dominion 34-33 when Gordon took a seat after picking up her fourth foul with 11:29 remaining. When Gordon came back with 5:39 left, ODU was up 11 en route to a 19-point victory.

Of course, there was more to Radford's late-game struggles than just Gordon's absence. But it's clear that this otherwise youthful team operates better when its senior leader is on the floor.

 Despite the two losses though, "Team Bre" was still pumped they got to see their heroine in person. Not surprisingly, no one was more excited than Ava Gordon, who for the previous three years had made it a point to travel to wherever her daughter was playing when her birthday rolled around.

Thankfully, this year, she never had to leave town.

Mother and daughter reunion

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