NORTH EAST — Two years ago, Tynaya Segure and Kayla Thompson were starting point guards on rival varsity teams.
Segure was a senior at Elkton and Thompson a junior at Bohemia Manor. Segure captured her second All-County Player of the Year that winter as Thompson earned the third of her four All-County selections.
Fast forward two years and the two are now teammates making up the starting backcourt for Cecil College.
“I just knew her from playing against her and we both had that mutual respect for each other from playing against each other,” Thompson said Saturday after the Seahawks came from behind to beat Potomac State College of West Virginia, 81-79. “Me and her were always rivals in high school, but for some reason we knew we were going to see each other again. The fact that we’re on the same squad, in the same back court, is really cool.”
Segure offered similar thoughts.
“It’s amazing. She carries a huge load,” she said of Thompson. “I have her back, she has mine. We were rivals in the beginning and now we’re the best of teammates.”
Segure attended Harford Community College last year, but took a season off of playing basketball. Still a freshman in terms of eligibility, she finds herself in a good place back come in Cecil County.
“It’s been a little rough getting back in shape and everything, but it’s coming along,” she admitted. “It’s going great. I’m in Elkton, so it’s the hometown school. We’ve got a lot of up-and-coming players. I just want to make everyone around me great.”
Seahawks coach Dayra Diamond said it was clear Segure would be the one to step up and lead the team from the first practice.
“From day one, we noticed that she was a leader. Her experience in terms of game play, is something that’s been very beneficial to us,” Diamond said. “We tried to put her in that position to lead and to help others that aren’t quite as experienced as she is. She’s been a very unique and fun addition to the team. I can’t ask for anything better than a leader like her.”
Segure leads Cecil with 17 points per game. At 5-foot-4, she is also the team leader in rebounds with 9.6 per game, as well as steals (1.6). She is tied with Thompson with 3.8 assists per contest to pace the Seahawks.
She scored 23 points and grabbed 16 rebounds during Saturday’s come-from-behind win to help spark the comeback.
Thompson ranks third on the team with 15 points per game. She’s adding 5.2 rebounds and 3.8 assists per contest.
In the win over Potomac on Saturday, she scored 17 points with nine assists, eight rebounds, two steals and three blocked shots.
“She kind of worked her way into that leading role. She stepped up to the job,” Diamond said. “The first couple games, she’s a little bit nervous. We told her ‘Look, you’re a natural leader. You need to start leading.’ And she’s been doing what she needed to do for us to get the last two ‘dubs. I’m very proud of her as well.”
Diamond said Segure and Thompson meshed immediately.
“They kind of gelled together knowing that they played against each other for most of their high school careers. They feed off of each other,” she said. “Ty kind of tells her ‘You can take this girl,’ and Kayla realized that she can and vice versa. It was beneficial for us today, those two are like Frick and Frack, Yin and Yang, whatever you two buddies you can put together, that’s them.”
While Segure and Thompson have led Cecil through the young season, another local product was the one to step up late Saturday. Freshman Megan O’Neal scored the Seahawks’ final six points over the back-and-forth closing minutes.
O’Neal put Cecil ahead 77-76, finishing a shot off of Thompson’s drive-and-dish. With 1:10 remaining, she drilled a long two-pointer that put her team back in front, 79-78. And she hit another jump shot from the corner with 32 seconds left that brought the score to its 81-79 final.
“It was pretty exhilarating,” O’Neal said afterward. “I’m not as experienced as Ty and Kayla and a lot of the other players. Coming from Coach [Chris] Dunn in Elkton, I didn’t get much playing time. I was second-string, I helped push the starters. I push myself a lot more here because I have to make myself known to get time on the court.”
Thompson said she and some some other players recruited O’Neal to play basketball. Her primary sport at Cecil College is soccer.
“She was a last minute add-on. She’s a very hard-worker and she has so many roles outside of basketball,” Diamond said. “She’s one of our most hard-working girls. She knows her role and she plays it very well, in terms of defense and everything. And she can certainly hit the open two-pointer, she hit a couple of clutch ones that we’ve been working on. She’s gaining that confidence and that’s very beneficial to us, especially since basketball is not her primary sport.”
Follow Sean Grogan on Twitter: @Sean_CecilWhig