Star on the rise

Published 9:55 pm Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Southside guard Katisha Hyman (right) shoots a jumper against East Carteret in a game earlier this year. Hyman was tabbed the Washington Daily News Female Basketball Player of the Year. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

CHOCOWINITY — This season the area was packed with young stars in the making, but none shined as consistently bright as Southside’s Katisha Hyman.

Equipped with a lightning-quick handle, a deadly jumper and uncanny anticipation on defense, Hyman’s play powered the Seahawks to a 22-4 record and a trip to the NCHSAA 1-A East Regional round of the playoffs.

Thanks to Hyman’s 17.9 points, 4.9 steals and 3.5 assists per game Southside was able to win the Four Rivers Conference regular season and tournament titles, which established her as slam dunk choice as the Washington Daily News Female Basketball Player of the Year.

Seahawks’ coach Bill Lake said Hyman, who was an all-district and all-conference selection for the third straight year, had a tremendous impact on the team.

“She was the leader of the team,” Lake said. “She has all the skills and is the one that all the girls looked up to, to bring the ball up the court when the pressure was on … She always got the job done.”

While Hyman has several great attributes, one of her best is the fact that she embraces her leadership role on the team.

“My style is: I like to get the intensity up,” Hyman said. “I like to try and get everyone going and keep them focused.”

This year the Four Rivers Conference was packed with up-and-coming talented teams, but the ability of Hyman to not only handle the ball, but to make big shots in clutch situations, elevated the Seahawks over their competitors.

“Katisha made the difference all season long, just about every game,” Lake said. “To have someone with her experience in there to settle it down and to know what kind of a set to go to, or when to press really helped. She is the general on the floor for me and it made a huge difference to have a person like that.”

Hyman’s knack for clutch plays was never more evident than in the Sectional round of the playoffs when she scored 21-fourth quarter points to lead her team to a 70-63 victory over Ayden-Grifton.

Hyman, who finished the game with 34 points, sent the crowd into a frenzy when she netted her second three-point play of the quarter by drilling a long two pointer while getting knocked to the ground. That play came in the midst of a 15-2 fourth quarter run in which she scored 13 of the team’s points during that stretch.

Hyman said winning the Sectional championship was her best moment of the year.

“It was great, “Hyman said. “It happened so quick, but we were able to stick with it and win it.”

Hyman’s display against Ayden-Grifton was tabbed by Lake as her best game as a Seahawk.

“I think the fourth quarter against Ayden-Grifton had to be the best highlight so far,” Lake said. “She just totally took over that game and turned the outcome around.”

While Hyman’s scoring captures all the headlines, Lake said her defense is right up there.

“She is really a good defender in that she understands where the ball is and what they are trying to do. She picks up on their schemes real quick,” Lake said. “She defends the passing lanes and she has such quick hands that she can get right up close and take the ball away while the other team just kind of wonders ‘how did she do that.’”

While she is just a junior, Lake said Hyman extremely well rounded and has the kind of talent that will allow her to extend her playing career beyond High School.

“I think she is college point guard material,” Lake said. “She can shoot the ball, she can drive, she can handle the ball under pressure and she is very good at finding the open person and making the pass. Plus, she doesn’t mind making the pass. Some players love to score, but she doesn’t care who scores as long as the team gets the win.”