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LOS ANGELES TIMES SPECIAL REPORT : City Times Basketball Playoffs : Hip-Hop Hoopster : Shonte Tippie knows the score, on the court and off. The Jefferson senior finds the bucket for 27 points a game and entertains as rapper MC T.


On the basketball court, she's making a name as Shonte Tippie. Off the court, she hopes to do the same as MC T.

Tippie, a Jefferson High senior, has been writing and reciting rap music since fifth grade. She has given lunchtime performances and been in school talent shows.

"A lot of people ask me why I don't put out a tape, but I haven't got the one I'm looking for yet," Tippie said. "I write down whatever comes to my mind and try to make it rhyme and flow. When I get enough, I put it together."

Tippie, 18, has also put together a list of accomplishments on the basketball court that have a rhythm and style of their own.

A three-year starter, Tippie is averaging 27 points and 13 rebounds a game.

In December, the 5-foot-8 forward was named Most Valuable Player of the Eagle Rock Tournament. She scored 35 points in the championship game and set a school record with 20 rebounds.

Last season, Tippie was named to the All-Eastern League first team, helping Jefferson reach the City Section 3-A Division semifinals.

The Democrats, however, could have used more help settling team members' personal differences.

"We could have gone a lot further if we got along better," Tippie said. "There wasn't a game where somebody wasn't mad at somebody."

Jefferson Coach Curtis Hughes appointed Tippie team captain before the season to help ease team relations. About the only rapping in the Jefferson locker room these days is Tippie's.

"Sometimes we ask her to turn off the radio before games so we can hear her rap," junior Chaka Smith said. "She's not hard-core, but she has a mellow type of rap that hypes everybody up."

It seems to be working.

"Sometimes adversities develop when you have a lot of talent among young ladies," Hughes said.

"Last year, they didn't see eye-to-eye, but Shonte was ready to take on challenges and mold everything."

Hughes, 32, who played at Jefferson High and starred on the television series "The White Shadow" and took over the girls' program last season, has been a role model for Tippie.

Hughes coached Tippie's brother, Deshon Newsome, during his eight seasons as a varsity boys assistant coach. Tippie often accompanied her brother to Jefferson games before taking up the sport in eighth grade.

"She already had a lot of ability, but she didn't really get serious until then," Hughes said.

Now, Tippie's biggest problem is deciding her favorite sport.

She also competes on the track and field team at Jefferson.

Tippie, a member of Jefferson's 400- and 1,600-meter relay teams, advanced to the state meet in the long jump last year. She has a personal best of 17 feet 5 1/2 inches in the event.

And although Tippie envisions rapping to fame as MC T, her athletic prowess prompted her basketball teammates to give her another nickname.

"We call her Junior Jordan," Smith said. "She has a lot of moves and she's so quick, she's hard to stick with, one-on-one."

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