Hyman ready for final run

Published 5:35 pm Saturday, February 11, 2012

Southside’s Katisha Hyman (22) drives to the basket as Northside’s Jordan Woolard (left) and Mallory Paul defend during the Seahawks’ victory over the Panthers. With the postseason set to begin on Monday Hyman, a senior, is preparing for her last run at a state title with the Seahawks. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

CHOCOWINITY — The window of opportunity to win a state title is closing for Katisha Hyman but it’s a safe bet that the Southside senior isn’t feeling the crunch. In fact, it just fuels her fire.
The Seahawks’ star point guard has always played her best when the all the chips are on the table and that will be the case from here on out.
Southside, the No. 3 ranked 1-A team in the state, finished the regular season this week with 22-2 record and split the Four Rivers Conference championship with Riverside, the No. 1 ranked 1-A team in North Carolina.
Thanks to their tremendous regular season, Southside does not face a must-win situation during this week’s Four Rivers Conference tournament but it will most certainly be gunning for a tourney title and a No. 1 seed in the state playoffs that comes with it.
Last year Hyman was named the Washington Daily News Female Basketball Player of the Year after she racked up 17.9 points 4.9 steals and 3.5 assists per game to guide the Seahawks to a Four Rivers Conference regular season and tournament championship and a trip the East regional round of the playoffs.
Heading into this postseason, Hyman’s lone goal is to make sure her team makes it further than it did a year ago.
“Every year we just want to go higher and higher and get to the top,” Hyman said.
While her 2010-11 season was spectacular, this year Hyman has been ever better as she has tallied 16.2 points, 4.8 assists and 4.8 steals per game which are all tops in the conference according to MaxPreps.com, while her 3.9 rebounds a night ranks ninth.
“This year I got my speed up and worked on my shot and I’m not scared to drive in to the basket,” Hyman said.
While Hyman has worked to improve her game, so have her teammates.
“They picked up their speed,” Hyman said. “They have confidence and we are better on defense.”
While her points per game is down slightly from a year ago, her assists have risen which is critical indicator of how well Hyman and the team is playing according to Southside coach Bill Lake.
“This year she has been able to convert with her passing which is more a compliment to her teammates,” Lake said. “She’s been passing for years but sometimes it just goes right by them. This year they’re catching it. She has over 100 assists this year and it’s because she sees the floor so well.”
Hyman’s career numbers have been remarkable as she is has scored over 1,550 points to become the school’s all-time leader and has swiped over 450 steals, grabbed over 400 rebounds and dished out over 350 assists along the way.
Despite all the gaudy stats, it’s her unselfish nature, ability to lead in a positive manner and ability to rise to the occasion when needed that really defines her as a basketball player.
Those traits were on full display earlier this year when the Seahawks played a quality Plymouth team and trailed by 19 heading into the fourth quarter. Knowing a second conference loss would likely erase any hopes of a conference title, Hyman erupted for 22 fourth-quarter points to power her team to a 64-58 victory.
Hyman’s faith in herself and her teammates enabled the Seahawks to top the Vikings that night and the Seahawks’ star said its their belief in each other that will be the key to their postseason run.
“We have to work more together and keep our heads up when we are down,” Human said. “And we have confidence that we can get back up.”