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Williamson talks about reaching 1,000 career points, career at McAuley

Feb. 14—Kloee Williamson surpassed the 1,000-point threshold on Jan. 29 to begin the Mercy/Warrior Classic at McAuley Catholic High School.

She began the game just two points away after registering 77 points combined in her two games prior to the start of the tournament.

Her first opportunity at points came at the free throw line and she made one of two attempts, putting her just 1 point away. That point came via a layup just moments later and the game was paused, fans held up signs on both sides of the gym congratulating Williamson for her accomplishment.

Peers and parents had signs waving as she walked to the bench and shared a hug with head coach Mike Howard and her teammates.

"It was just really nice to see how many people support me and helped me to get to that point," Williamson said. "The feeling of all my family and friends supporting me, especially him (Howard) getting me to this achievement feels great."

Williamson says she wasn't aware of how close she was to 1,000 points until a little before the day she surpassed it. She now sits just 5 points shy of 1,100 points and will likely surpass that mark on Thursday night during senior night against Thomas Jefferson. If she does, that would put her seventh on the all-time scoring list of McAuley Catholic girls basketball players.

Howard talked about the growth he's seen from Williamson from her first points to 1,100.

"She didn't have to score much her freshman and sophomore years. That's when we had Kennedy (DeRuy) and Kayleigh (Teeter) and a couple others," Howard said. "Total, I think she only scored 300 points those first two years."

He added that her game had to change as she learned how to be a leader during her junior and senior seasons.

"She's learned that she can score points more easy at the free throw line. She's attacking the basket more this year," Howard noted.

That aggressiveness with the ball in her hands even led to a new record at McAuley Catholic. The senior guard has attempted a program-most 270 free throws this season with one regular season game left to play.

"That's almost twice as many as her first three years combined," Howard said.

Williamson talked about going from a supporting role behind Teeter and DeRuy to having to be a leader now. While her offense has clearly boosted, she also thinks a key part of her improvement has been playing defense and getting takeaways.

Williamson believes a lot of her improvement comes from watching DeRuy and Teeter play before her.

"She learned a lot from them," Howard said.

BEYOND HER GAME

Williamson is the lone senior on the team and admits that gets a little "lonely." But she also talked about the opportunity to help the underclassmen the same way DeRuy and Teeter helped her.

"Being able to connect with the younger players and help them to eventually get to where I'm at once I leave has been good," Williamson said.

"She is a great leader. She leads by example," Howard said. "She knows that the team is reliant on her to be their leader. She's tried to take the young kids and teach them what she was taught by Kayleigh and Kennedy.

"She doesn't like the glory but she definitely deserves it. ... She has put herself in position to be one of the best that's ever played here and that's nothing but hard work and dedication."

It isn't just the high school team that Williamson works alongside. McAuley Catholic takes the high school players to "adopt" a youth player like a "sister" on the fifth-grade team and uses the older kids to be role models for the youth.

Williamson is adored by those kids and not only do they look up to her game on the floor, but Howard has overheard a young athlete talk about wanting the same hairstyle as their role model.

COACH DAD

Coach Howard married Williamson's mother, Deana, when Williamson was just 2 years old. He said he's been coaching her in softball since she was 9.

And when she thought about some of her favorite memories as a Warrior, her first thought was the time she got with her father coaching her.

"Definitely him coaching me is a big one," Williamson said. "He's coached me all my life for softball. He's stepped up in my life in other ways but just having him there beside me, knowing he's always supporting me through everything that I do."

Howard admitted that it hasn't been easy for either one of them throughout the years. From "pushing" her harder than anyone else because it is his child to "battles" because that's what a parent and child do sometimes, it hasn't been easy.

"But she's a person that will do anything I ask of her," he said.

From battling injuries and still having success in each sport she plays to the person she is and has become, Howard had this to say about Williamson:

"All-around I'm just super proud of her. I'm proud to be her dad and proud to be her coach."