06/15/06 — Methodist signs Spring Creek's Pride

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Methodist signs Spring Creek's Pride

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on June 15, 2006 2:25 PM

SEVEN SPRINGS -- Tomeka Pride, as an eighth-grader, fell into a group of friends who played volleyball in middle school.

She never thought about basketball.

"I was more of a volleyball girl," laughed Pride, who just graduated from Spring Creek. "I didn't really like basketball. I don't know why."

A four-year varsity performer, Pride played two seasons for coach Cassandra Tyson, now the athletics director at Goldsboro Middle School. Amanda Ramfjord came aboard two years ago and helped cultivate Pride's talent, which helped turn her into a college recruit.

Pride learned to post up.

Pride learned to dribble.

Pride learned to shoot.

"Coach Ramfjord turned me into a basketball player," said a grinning Pride. "She is the toughest coach I've ever had."

Pride, the daughter of Carla Pride, signed to play next season with Division III Methodist College. The 5-foot-11 power forward becomes just the second Spring Creek player to sign with a college program, and the first for Ramfjord.

Pride considered N.C. Wesleyan, an archrival to Methodist in the USA South, and Division II Barton. Barton reached the Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference tournament championship and advanced to semifinals of the East Regional this year.

"It's a small school and it's not far (from home)," said Pride. "It's just like Spring Creek -- a small school. And I'm used to small classes."

Pride, a National Honor Society member, averaged 7.1 points and 7.2 rebounds for the Gators. She shot 36 percent from the floor and nearly 60 percent from the foul line.

Spring Creek concluded the year 5-20 overall and just missed earning a spot in the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 1-A playoffs. The Gators were 4-6 in Carolina Conference play and earned a berth in the tournament semifinals.

"She was an impact (player) on the inside for us," said Ramfjord. "I know she's going to be a good fit (there). She'll bring it in the classroom and she'll bring it, also, on the court.

"She hasn't peaked yet."

Methodist finished 13-13 overall and 8-6 in USA South play.

In brief talks with veteran head coach DeeDee Jarman, who earned her associate's degree at Mount Olive College, Pride realized she has to work on one major part of her game -- strength. She watched the Monarchs play a regular-season contest and figured she could adapt to the faster pace, but also recognized she'd need to get a little more physical under the basket.

"Coach Jarman is expecting me to be a big man in the post and she likes my work (ethic)," said Pride, who plans to major in child psychology. "I'm surprised, honestly, that I was recruited.

"I'm looking forward to it."

Notes: Jarman, who starred at North Lenoir High School, has 157 career victories and is the winningest coach in Methodist history. ... The Monarchs earned shares of the Dixie Conference regular-season title twice and two Dixie tournament championships with Jarman. ... Methodist has reached the national tournament twice.