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A ‘Right’ turn for ‘Lefty’

Cherkira Lashley’s nickname is also her reminder.

Her Brooklyn Saints AAU basketball coach Alan Fleisher and occasionally her teammates call her “Lefty.” Fleisher says Lashley doesn’t use her left hand enough especially when dribbling.

“She always goes to the right,” Brooklyn Saints teammate Kristen Markoe said. “She has been working on it though. She is getting better.”

The 5-foot-9 Poly Prep junior forward has been a post player the majority of her career, but knows in college and possibly going forward at the Brooklyn private school that she is going to have to play on the perimeter more.

“I think it was good up to this point that I got to work on my forward skills,” Lashley said.“I need to start working on my handle and my point guard skills.”

She is already using her left hand more and has the athleticism to easily translate her game to the guard spot, something you see flashes of while she plays. With the Saints at the U.S. Junior Nationals in Washington, D.C., last week one play down the court Lashley would catch the ball on the high post and get to the basket, next drive from the outside or even knockdown a 3-pointer. She said she has had a pretty good shooting touch since the seventh grade.

“She’s hard down low,” Markoe said. “She catches the ball, she turns and faces, she sees the court and her dribbling up top for a pretty big person is pretty good too. She can shoot that turnaround jumper lights out.”

Lashley’s roll will expand at Poly next season where she is the only starter returning. She figures to even see some time at point guard if need be. It will certainly be a different role now that person doing the learning over her last two varsity seasons will now be the teacher of her inexperienced teammates.

“It’s going to get a lot bigger,” Lashley said …“I am going to have to step up a lot…I’m ready. Teaching them is going to help me learn a lot.”

She is already looking at potential Ivy League schools for college, but is open and welcomes the challenge of trying to play basketball at a major Division I program. Lashley knows that improving her ball handling, the consistency of her jump shot and her overall physical conditioning will be keys.

“I think because she is a rising junior she has enough time if she really wants to develop,” Fleisher said.

Lashley certainly wants to and knows the amount of work it will take.

“In the back of my mind I kind of want that high D-I experience because I know that it’s intense and my skill level would have to be superior,” she said. “I know if I want to do that I have to step up my game a lot.”

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