Athlete of the Week: Walker keeps MB on an even keel

mbghoops-11The past three weeks have been one wild roller-coaster ride for the Myrtle Beach girls basketball team. Fortunately for the Lady Seahawks, the smallest player on the floor is one of the biggest leaders to make sure they don’t get too high or low.

Keocia Walker, the 4-foot-10 point guard and Mammy’s Kitchen Athlete of the Week, has had a big hand in the Lady Seahawks’ successes and shortcomings since they entered the CresCom Bank Holiday Invitational with an unbeaten record but an uphill battle on their hands. Myrtle Beach had never won a first-round game in their hometown national tournament – until this one.

Walker scored 13 points and made six steals and three assists as Myrtle Beach upset nationally ranked Christ The King (NY) 57-52 in the opener. Not satisfied with simply playing in the winners’ brackets, the Lady Seahawks also knocked off Archer (GA) 51-45 in the second round, thanks in part to Walker’s 14 points, four steals and rebounds and three assists.

“Going into this year’s tournament, we just wanted to do better than we have in the past,” Walker said. “We always get beat in the first round, so we really wanted to get over that hurdle, and we did we got even more confidence, like `We can play with these teams.’ To beat the top teams we did, I think it opened our eyes to exactly how good our team can be.”

Myrtle Beach lost the final two games of the CresCom tournament but earned the state’s No. 1 ranking in Class 3A. Perhaps a bit overconfident from all the fanfare, the Lady Seahawks have now lost four of their last five outings – with defeats to Goose Creek 47-38 (which they avenged 30-24 on Friday) and to No. 5 Wilson 56-53 on a late basket in the Region 7-3A opener.

“We still have a lot more work to do,” Walker said. “our goal is to win the state championship so we have to start playing hard every night and doing the little things that we don’t do when we lose. Every day you have to get better, and I think this year we’re starting to take it in. But as good and bad as we’ve played at times, we can get a whole lot better.”

Saturday’s loss may have been just the trick to get Myrtle Beach’s attention. Winning the region title has become commonplace for the Lady Seahawks, so starting out the season 0-1 in league play could be the wake-up call they need. But Walker isn’t getting too high or low at this point. Just as she serves as a court general for her team, she also serves as a calming force off it.

“We’re not the team we want to be yet, but we’re definitely getting there,” she said.

Photo by Prep Stars Media

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