Keith's Harriet Winchester (12) drives to the basket during the Class 1A final against Brantley in Birmingham. -- File Photo
Keith's Harriet Winchester (12) drives to the basket during the Class 1A final against Brantley in Birmingham. -- File Photo

STJ Player of the Year: Young Winchester leads Lady Bears

Published 4:34pm Saturday, March 30, 2013

After playing a crucial role in the Keith Lady Bears’ state championship game appearance, freshman Harriet Winchester is the player of the year.

The young guard was a key part of the Lady Bears’ 31-4 finish and run to the Class 1A state championship game this season, as she averaged 16.5 points and 11.5 rebounds during the Class 1A final four.

Winchester was also named honorable mention for Class 1A on the Alabama Sports Writers Association all-state team, and while she’s only a freshman, she’s provided crucial experience for the Lady Bears for a while now and still has room to grow.

“She’s been with us since 7th grade. She’s growing, she’s learning, but she’s just like a normal kid. She’s going to make mistakes,” said Keith girls basketball coach Cecil Williams. “She’s young, so she still has time to where she has to develop her mind, her skills and understand what she has to do and what’s important for the team.”

Though she’s young, Winchester has taken up a role of leadership for the Lady Bears, especially during this past season.

“For the team, I’m expected to carry them on my back. They look up to me to be a leader, so I have to take care of them,” Winchester said. “We reached a high point this year, so we know what it takes to get there, and we know what everybody’s responsibility has to be.”

Winchester served a key role for Keith in that she’s a dynamic player, providing scoring and rebounding for the Lady Bears, but she’s still looking to get even better.

“My role is bringing the ball down the court, making the assists, and getting the rebounds,” Winchester said. “I’m not good on my left side, but I’m practicing on it. I’m going to practice shooting to work on my shot.”

Williams said Winchester can get even better, and still has lots of potential.

“Her role is very important because she’s a big piece in the puzzle,” Williams said. “She controls the ball and even plays well under the basket. She rebounds well. With her skill and her gelling with everybody else, it’s kind of a plus for us because she can do so many different things, not just scoring and handling the ball, but also rebounding. Needs to improve on her defense, but other than that she’s a real good kid. She has a lot of potential, just hasn’t developed it yet.”

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