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Katie Paschal named best female baller by WDN

By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
WILLIAMSTON — The average basketball player might spend her off-season playing a few pickup games, tuning up her jump shot, or maybe working on her left-handed dribble. If she’s a diehard hoops-aholic, she might go out and try and develop a jump hook, or create new moves to the basket.
Not Katie Paschal. But then again, the Williamston sophomore has never been your average player.
Basketball players work on their defense about as much as Shaq practices 3-pointers, but last summer Paschal spent her free time working on her slides and foot speed.
No, that’s not a misprint, Paschal really took time out to work on improving her defensive stance, lateral movement and overall agility; oh yeah, and don’t forget to add the customary 1,000 or so jumpers a night, plus ball-handling exercises.
No, Katie Paschal is not your average basketball player, which is why she was chosen to be the Washington Daily News Girls Basketball Player of the year.
What she also did was score 25 points per game (third in the state), grab six boards and dish out five assists a night, while shooting 60 percent from the floor. She also led her Tigers to an Atlantic Conference regular season and tournament title, an East Region sectional championship, a 27-game winning streak, and at one point a No. 1 ranking amongst 1-A schools in the state.
Paschal’s dedication to defense was crucial, as Williamston coach Jimmy Elks decided he would go to a diamond-and-one press for large portions of games this season. Paschal would be at the front of the press, where the ability to go sideline-to-sideline is critical.
As a freshman, Paschal exploded on to the basketball scene and dropped 41 in her varsity debut against Washington. Paschal would end the season as on the only freshman on the WDN’s All-Area basketball team.
Her quick success at times made for uncomfortable moments. Being the best player on a varsity team as a ninth-grader can be a tough challenge. You don’t want to step on the toes of the upperclassmen, but at the same time you are expected to lead because you are the best player on the team.
Think back to when LeBron James was drafted out of high school to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers. He wanted to show respect for his elder teammates, while at the same time he was asked to provide leadership; it’s a hard line to toe.
This year, the awkward introduction was out of the way, and Paschal could just do what she loves to do: play ball.
The truth is, anytime Paschal is on or around a basketball court she is comfortable. This is what she loves to do, and as Elks said, a big reason why she is so successful.
Elks said she continues to develop at this pace there is no doubt in his mind she will land at a Div. I school.