Williams among leaders for Saints

Published 4:32 pm Wednesday, December 7, 2016

If Selma High is going to make a run this season in basketball, the Saints will be relying on their seniors to do so. Selma has five seniors and the rest of team is juniors, meaning there is plenty of experience on the team this year.

One of the team’s most experienced players is Ivan Williams, a 6-foot-2 small forward. Williams grew up in Selma and is the son of two local educators, Ivery and Sharon Williams, so he grew up hearing two things — the importance of grades and how good the Selma High basketball program usually is.

The grades he’s got under control, and he’s hoping to get the team back on track.

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“They are always telling me how Selma High used to be the team in this state always — the crowds, the gym packed with people, people on the sideline,” Williams said.

This year’s Selma team is off to a good start. The Saints won games against Keith and Francis Marion to start the year and also won the Selma Thanksgiving Tournament for a 5-1 record.

“We aren’t at a team full of 6-9’s or 6-4’s …. We’ve got a team with a height around 6 feet, so we’ve got to be quick on the floor, we’ve got to run the floor in transition, defense and offense. That’s probably where we’ll get most of our points,” Williams said.

Like the rest of his teammates, Williams has had to adjust to Selma’s new coach, Ronald Lane. Williams said Lane, a Selma High graduate, has a different coaching style than his predecessor. One thing’s for sure — Lane is expecting a big season from Williams. While the senior likely won’t lead the Saints in scoring this year, he’s one of the team’s most important vocal leaders.

“I think he’s ready to have a breakout season. He’s a son of a coach and his mother is a teacher, so he’s real cerebral, just a great guy all around,” Lane said. “All the kids seem to gravitate to him. He’s a spoken leader, the guy who will speak up and get everybody hyped up or some words of encouragement, or he’ll volunteer to lead prayer and things like that.”

During Friday’s win over Keith, Williams Had 10 points, with six of those coming in the fourth quarter as the Saints held off the Bears.

Williams said having two parents in the school system has influenced him in a positive way.

“My dad, he always told me to be a good player, be a good person and that just helped me on and off the court,” Williams said. “All that pushed me to be a greater player.”

Right now, there’s still three months left of high school basketball season, but Williams knows it’ll go fast. He’s got his goals set high for his final season.

“The goal for this team is to get to Birmingham,” Williams said. “Win the area tournament, win the semifinals and then head down to Birmingham, down I-65.”