Athlete of the Year: Sessions takes her game to next level

It’s only fitting that Class AAA Player of the Year Khadijah Sessions will play her college basketball at the University of South Carolina.

After all, two of her greatest memories from her stellar high school career at Myrtle Beach came in state championship games in Columbia.

“Winning that first state championship in overtime was one game I’ll never forget,” said Sessions, who adds Mammy’s Kitchen Athlete of the Year to her long list of credentials.

“It was a wild ending and it was my first state championship, so it will always be special. But really, just making the team as a seventh-grader was a great accomplishment for me.”

Sessions was a rising star on the Grand Strand even before the undersized 13-year-old made the varsity squad and helped the Lady Seahawks to the Class AAA state title game as an eighth-grader.

Sessions dominated the youth leagues at “Pepper” Geddings Recreation Center so much so that she was forced to play with the boys in her final year, and she won the championship that season too.

So after suffering a close 60-55 loss to JL Mann in the 2008 state title game, Sessions led her Lady Seahawk teammates back to Columbia for back-to-back championships as a sophomore and junior.

Sessions tallied a combined 44 points, 12 assists, 12 rebounds and 10 steals in those two state title games. Despite her impressive point production, it was her ability to rebound, steal and pass that made her game.

“Khadijah has a greater knowledge of the game of basketball than anyone in my 17 years of coaching,” said coach Brian Kiper. “She is a self-made player who chose a weakness each offseason and worked on it to make herself a more complete player.”

After losing four fellow starters to graduation, Sessions averaged almost 30 points per game and was named a Parade All-American, but she was unable to carry Myrtle Beach to a state three-peat. Still,  her contributions to the program will never be forgotten.

“Six years of varsity basketball, more than 3,000 points and two state championships,” Kiper said of Sessions’ career. “It’s really the end of an era for Lady Seahawks basketball.”

But it’s the beginning of an era for the Lady Gamecocks, who are coming off their first NCAA Tournament win in a decade. Sessions is already at USC, working hard in hopes of adding some more magical memories in Columbia.

“I’m just trying to take my game to the next level and help the team however I can,” said Sessions. “I’m not nervous. I’m amped about it. I’m just getting in shape to do what I’ve always loved to do.”

Photo by Rancier Photography

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