03/14/09 — Williams passion shows on the court

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Williams passion shows on the court

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on March 14, 2009 11:32 PM

A self-described quiet person off the basketball, Ki'Ana Williams' demeanor changes on game day.

Her style of play and passion for the sport turns her into a roaring Cougar.

Especially this season.

Williams averaged 17.5 points and seven assists a game, and led Goldsboro High to its second straight regular-season title in Eastern Plains 2-A Conference play. The Cougars finished 20-9 overall and lost in the sectional finals to Hillsborough Orange.

For her efforts, Williams is the 2008-09 News-Argus All-Area girls' basketball player of the year.

A four-year starter on the varsity level, Williams has progressed from a tentative shooting guard with a mediocre jump shot into a confident point guard capable of taking over ballgames.

"As a freshman I was on varsity and I started for about half the season," said Williams. "I was OK, but I didn't really have a right hand. In tenth grade I started playing point guard and I started working on my vision a little bit.

"My shooting has gotten better, and my junior year I started getting quicker and I lost weight. This year I was in shape, and I was scoring and passing."

Perhaps Williams' greatest attribute is her court vision and ability to make passes most high school point guards either don't see or are incapable of making.

Playing with five fellow seniors, Williams has been afforded the luxury of being surrounded by teammates who have grown accustomed to bullet passes and keeping their heads on a swivel.

"It's just learning how to pass, what pass is appropriate and knowing your receivers as well," said Williams. "It's knowing who can catch what pass. It's just a natural thing I guess. When I see it I just let it go.

"I tell my teammates to keep their hands ready."

A former point guard at Goldsboro, third-year head coach Brandy Smith has learned to accept the bad with the good that often comes with an aggressive point guard capable of making passes that don't always reach their intended destination.

"She has the best court vision as a point guard that I've seen in this area and outside of this area in a very long time," said Smith. "I knew there were times when what she was trying to do was a good thing. I would tell her she had to know her personnel and who can handle that bullet pass.

"Having six seniors play together for three years you learn each other and they know to be ready for those unexpected passes."

During her time in a Goldsboro uniform, Williams has grasped the importance of involving her teammates in the offense while knowing when to take it upon herself to score in critical moments in a ballgame.

"That's one thing every coach would love to have is a point guard that can see the floor and get the ball to her teammates but at the same time is another threat offensively," said Smith. "Last year she forced a lot of offense. This year it was smooth offense. She got her points and assists."

Williams learned to accept the responsibility and leadership involved with being a point guard. Despite her modest demeanor off the court, the Cougars' floor general hopes her love for basketball and desire to win will be part of her lasting legacy.

"I'm a quiet girl, but on the court I'm very vocal," said Williams. "On the court I'm very emotional. Some people take my emotions the wrong way. I just want people to remember me for how my heart was into the game.

"I wasn't just out there to be out there. I was out there because basketball is what I love."