Bodine strives as Public League dark horse

The Northern Liberties Recreation Center sits at 321 Fairmount Ave.

It's an unassuming building, whose identity is marked by words in forest green and white paint to the right of the door.

20150131_inq_sbodine31-a
Tiana Garvin led Bodine with 18 points. KATE HARMAN / For The Inquirer

Walk in and you may not immediatley know it houses a basketball court, but basketball is played there almost every day.

On Friday afternoon, the gym was abuzz as Bodine High - which calls the NLRC home - topped Simon Gratz, 55-48, in a Public League girls' game.

Junior Tiana Garvin led Bodine (9-7 overall, 7-4 Public League) with 18 points. Kendra Stanford, also a junior, added 14. Simon Gratz (8-6, 6-5) was led by Kira Lewis' 18 points and Geneaa Walker's 16.

The recreation center is just a three-minute drive from Bodine. The school has it's own gym, but it is almost too small for practice. Both the boys' and girls' teams play their home games and practice at the NLRC.

The girls team walked to Friday's game - about an eight-minute stroll up Fairmount Avenue.

The Bodine players will sometimes ride the SEPTA No. 57 bus if it is waiting outside the school.

However they travel, they have to be quick, because practice time can be limited.

"Playing here is like home because of the crowd and the cheerleaders. That is the type of vibe we need to get through a game," Garvin said.

When the boys' team has a home game and the girls' squad does not, the girls have to practice at the school.

"It is frustrating sometimes because if we are at the school we can't practice jump shots because the ceiling is too low," Garvin said.

If both teams do not have a game, then they practice together, each using a half of the court.

"Most teams are practicing for two hours with a full gym, so we just try to utilize our space and do as much as we can do," Stanford said "Getting as much quality time in, so that when we get in games we don't have to use the excuse that we are disadvantaged.

"We are just as good as any other team."

When Friday's game finished, the recreation center was full of its usual programming. Bulletin boards featured children's work, and youngsters filled up rooms, talking and playing.

In one room, boys and girls of various ages were dancing as Katy Perry's "Dark Horse" was blaring.

A dark horse is a person or thing that succeeds unexpectedly. How appropriate.

Simon Gratz 9 21 10 8 - 48

Bodine 12 11 16 16 - 55

SG: Kira Lewis 18, Geneaa Walker 16, Ciani Ballard 11, Robmira Taylor 2, Tiana Barnette 1.

B: Tiana Garvin 18, Kendra Stanford 14, Keyanah Price 10, Jaiqwendolyn 8, Sydney Mitchell 5.


rallysports@phillynews.com