High Five: O’Neal has milestones in her sights

Published 3:45 pm Thursday, December 29, 2022

Southside senior basketball player Ka’Nyah O’Neal has scored points and grabbed rebounds in school-record numbers and her team has needed every one to be successful. With 15 regular season games left, she needs 191 more points for 2,000, 139 rebounds for 1,000 and 153 steals for 500.

The 5’8 guard/forward been the focal point since she stepped on the court as a freshman, but with more experienced teammates, she has shared the load so far this year as the Seahawks start the 2023 portion of the schedule with a 9-3 record.

  1. What will it mean to you when you reach those goals?

Ka’Nyah: I will be really proud and excited. I’m surprised that I have a chance because I’ve just been playing and not looking at that stuff. It will be cool to be at that level and it’s also very important that we have a successful rest of the season. Points and rebounds mean a lot when doing that helps us win.

  1. At what point in your career did you become comfortable with being the player everyone looked to?

Ka’Nyah: Probably early in my 10th grade year. It was weird as a freshman that the older players wanted me to do a lot on the court, but I got used to it as a sophomore. Now I take it as a challenge and it motivates me even more when I know the other team is focused on stopping me.

  1. What is different about your senior season so far?

Ka’Nyah: The biggest difference is when the other team does focus on stopping me, we have other players who can step up with scoring and rebounding. I’m fine with passing the ball and not getting every rebound. I’m good with whatever helps us win. My teammates are the same, just older, and we still have the same goal of going deep in the playoffs.

  1. What’s the most fun you’ve had on the court in your career?

Ka’Nyah: I’d say my sophomore year when we made it to the third round of the playoffs. We had several girls who could score and rebound and they were fun to be around.

  1. What are your college plans?

Ka’Nyah: I’m planning on playing basketball at some level. I’ve had the most interest from Mount Olive and North Carolina Wesleyan so far, but I haven’t made any final decision. I want to major in business because I’d like to have my own store so I could sell clothes and shoes to wear every day and athletic stuff as well.

Bonus question: You’ve qualified for the state track meet in the high jump and as part of the 4 x 100 relay team. How did you get started with that sport?

Ka’Nyah: Coach Q (Southside athletic director and track coach Andrea Quinerly) basically made me my sophomore year. He told me it would help my speed, jumping and footwork for basketball and it has. I’m planning on doing it again this spring.