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Former Reed standout eyes end of playing days at Nevada
by Damian Tromerhauser
Feb 26, 2012 | 799 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Three days ago, the Reed girls basketball team took home the 4A state title for the first time in almost 20 years. For former Raiders standout Kayla Williams, whose younger sister Gabby led the Blue and Gold to the program’s fourth state crown, the victory was sweet to take in, even while thousands of miles away in Hawaii with her current team, the Nevada Wolf Pack.

“I had people tweeting me, letting me know that they won,” Williams said. “My parents were letting me know what was happening and even a few of the girls on the Reed team were telling me they won state. Being able to congratulate them has been good and I’m glad that I was around to do that. I wish I could have been there to see the games.”

Williams said she was especially happy for her old high school coach Sara Schopper for finally taking the title that had eluded her for so long.

“I’m completely happy for Sara because I know she’s been waiting so long for it,” Williams said. “It’s almost been eight years trying to get it. I’m happy that they finally got one and that she was the coach for it. I am really happy for her.”

Williams, who won three High Desert League championships while at Reed, said that when it came to deciding on where to play collegiately, staying close to home was a top priority.

“It’s nice because I am close to home and I have my family here for support and still see a lot of my friends that I went to high school with. I am able to go back to my old high school and watch my past team and now my sister play there. It’s just been nice to stay at home.

“Being so close has meant a lot to me because at first when I was in high school I wasn’t sure where I was going to go. I didn’t know if I’d be able to see my sister’s high school career or not and I didn’t know how I was going to do away from home and away from those little things that I was so used to here. So staying close to home was a good choice in the end.”

Having that support system nearby has been needed this season for Williams as the Wolf Pack has struggled through her senior year. While Nevada was competitive and contended for a Western Athletic Conference title over Williams’ first three seasons with the Pack, the team has had a rough year, currently sitting at 5-22 overall and 1-11 in conference play.

With just a few games left in her college career, Williams is staying positive despite the disappointing season.

“My time here has been good regardless of how my senior year went,” Williams said. “I think the past three years were great and I think that this was just a rebuilding year for this team. It’s just unfortunate that it had to come during my senior year for it to happen after four years of being here. It’s been an all-around good experience all four years either way. I don’t know if there is one specific memory that stands out. My best memory is like a four-year memory of being able to make friends and stick it out all four years through everything.”

In spite of the losing record and hard times, the season hasn’t been a complete loss for Williams. While averaging 12.6 points a game, good enough for second on the team, and a team-leading 7.3 rebounds per game, Williams said the main thing that she will take from her final year with the Silver and Blue is how she has overcome the hardships she has faced.

“It’s like the same lesson you learn in any type of hard situation,” Williams said. “You have to overcome adversity and there’s always going to be struggles that you have to get through. There’s always going to be a new obstacle to climb. It’s just whether you have the strength to get through it or not.”

Williams’ final home game in a Wolf Pack uniform will be Saturday, but she said she is hoping that her basketball career will continue on.

“I’m looking to go overseas and keep playing while I can,” Williams said. “I want to keep playing before being in the real world. If I had to choose somewhere I’d hope I could go somewhere in Europe because I have some family out there. I have family in Paris that I would like to see me play because I never get to see them. It’d be cool if they got to see me play. We’ll see what happens.”
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