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Ex-Panthers to take their games to Division I level

By DAVE ORNAUER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: January 4, 2019

A pair of former stars with their respective DODEA-Pacific high school Panthers teams are taking their respective games to the Division I level for the 2019-20 college years:

-- Kaliah Henderson, Most Valuable Player in the 2016 DODEA-Japan and Far East Division II basketball tournaments for Yokota, has signed a national letter of intent to play for St. Joseph’s in the Atlantic-10 Conference.

-- Saj McBurrows, a former middle blocker for Kadena volleyball who also starred on the basketball court earning All-Far East Division I honors in 2017, her sophomore year, has also signed an NLI, to play volleyball for Columbia of the Ivy League.

“I am very excited; it was my top choice,” McBurrows said of signing with the Lions. She credits in part her time in Panthers black and yellow and also with Shisa Volleyball Club, a private club not affiliated with DODEA but including students from DODEA’s Okinawa high schools.

McBurrows transferred from Okinawa after her sophomore year to Pinnacle High School north of Phoenix in Arizona’s Maricopa County. In her senior season, the Pioneers came in second in the 6-A Desert Valley district and lost in the quarterfinals to Xavier, which went on to win the Arizona state championship. It was the Pioneers’ best finish in 11 seasons. Along the way, McBurrows was named first team All-District and All-Region.

Columbia went 10-14 overall in the 2018 season, 4-10 in the Ivy League, tied for sixth place with Brown.

Henderson left Yokota following her freshman year and has since played in the backcourt for 6-A Thomas R. Robinson High School in Tampa, Fla. The Knights have gone 45-7 with Henderson in the lineup and lost the last two years in the regional finals, one game shy of Florida’s final four.

Twice, Henderson has been named Western Conference Player of the Year and in 2017-18 Hillsborough County first team and Player of the Year. She was also named to the Florida Association of Coaches All-State team and Player of the Year and USA Today’s All-Florida Team, among other honors.

Henderson averaged 19 points, 3 assists, 7 rebounds and 5 steals per game as a sophomore and 27.3 points, 3 assists, 6 rebounds and 4 steals as a junior.

St. Joseph’s went 19-15 overall and 10-6 in the A-10 in the 2017-18 season, losing 65-49 to George Washington in the A-10 tournament final. The Hawks are 4-9 so far this season; their A-10 schedule tips off Saturday with a game at Virginia Commonwealth.

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