SHS star named top baller

Published 7:22 pm Thursday, April 12, 2012

Southside point guard Katisha Hyman (right) tallied 15.7 points, 4.5 assists and 4.2 steals a game en route to earning her second straight Washington Daily News Female Basketball Player of the Year honors. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

CHOCOWINITY — Ironically, the one who sees everything before it happens on the court had no idea what the future held for her when she stepped on the hardwood as a freshman at Southside High School.
Katisha Hyman couldn’t predict that her lightning quick first step and velvety-smooth jumper would lead to 1,768 career points, the most in Southside’s history. It was impossible for the freshman to forecast that her penchant for passing and team-first attitude would one day help her teammates form a tighter union than Jimmy Hoffa and become the driving force behind a 29-4 record and a trip to the state championship game.
“I really didn’t envision all this in my freshman year,” Hyman said. “But I accomplished more than I expected.”
Nope, the humble and talented Hyman never saw it coming. However, the same could not be said for Bill Lake, the Seahawks coach who put her into the starting lineup on Day One as a freshman and hasn’t taken her out since.
In that time Hyman has earned two Four Rivers Conference Player of the Year awards, and after tallying 15.7 points, 4.5 assists and 4.2 steals per game, was a no-brainer choice to earn her second straight Washington Daily News Female Basketball Player of the Year honors.
“Yes, I really did see her coming this far,” Lake said. “She could have had better stats this year. We could have geared the offense to make her score more but we didn’t really think that’s what the game is about. We thought we’d do better if we had the whole team involved more so we encouraged her to pass off. It may have hurt her statistics a little bit but I think it paid off in how far the whole team got in the playoffs.”
When talking about Hyman, whose play earned her a spot in the East-West All-Star game, vision is the key word. As a freshman point guard she was capable of making good passes and was a strong on-ball defender, but as time went on her ability to see the whole floor and feel the flow of the game grew at a tremendous rate.
“When she started she was a very good dribbler and driver. She could put the ball in the basket and could make a good pass if they were close,” Lake said. “She’s gone from that kind of closed view of the basketball court to opening up to where she sees the whole floor and can anticipate where the defense is going to go and can direct the players to have better passing lanes.”
All those attributes came into play during a key stretch in final moments of the sectional round of the playoffs against area rival and Four Rivers Conference Co-champions Riverside.
With the scored tied at 52 with under 14 seconds left in the game, the Seahawks had the ball but instead of holding on for one final shot, had fired up a jumper that failed to fall through the nylon and landed into the hands of the Knights with eight seconds left. The change in possession brought about a shift in momentum, but Hyman made sure it didn’t last long as she stole Riverside’s outlet pass and fired off one of her own to teammate Chante Painter, who would convert the game-winning shot to clinch the sectional title and catapult her team into the East Regional semifinal round or the playoffs.
“There’s so much said about her in that one little sequence,” Lake said. “Ninety-nine percent of the basketball players, when that shot clangs off the rim and the other team gets the rebound they say, ‘Oh, man, we lost’ because there’s not much time left. Instead, here’s a player that says, ‘Okay, so what do I have to do now.’ And she went and did it.”
Accomplishing just about everything a player could possibly want at the high school level, what’s left for Hyman to do now is prepare for a new challenge. Hyman is currently sifting through colleges and said Pembroke, Elon and Virginia State University are amongst her top choices.
Hyman made no predictions about how she will play at the next level, but it’s pretty easy to see that she will be up for the challenge.