BY SYDNEY SNELSON
It all started with a new weekly poll. Created by KC Metro Sports, teams from the surrounding area would be ranked based on their record and performance. Fans of the teams listed became obsessed with their positions. During the week of the Winnetonka tournament, the Truman girls were placed at #13, while their competitor for tournament champion, Park Hill South, secured the top spot. This matchup was all the rave in the basketball world, but everyone claimed to know the outcome. Although there was no question it would be a good game, there was no way a thirteen seed could beat the number one seed. Right?
The locker room talk beforehand was unlike anything I’d experienced in all my years of playing sports. Head Coach, Jim Page, delivered the most emotional, determined, heartfelt speech I’d ever heard. He pushed the girls to believe in their game. He knew everyone was betting against us, but he didn’t care. Even at halftime, he didn’t spend the usual amount of time going over a play to refresh minds. He instead had a heart-to-heart talk about what winning this game would mean for us. He reminded the girls that he trusted them, and that it was up to them to prove everyone wrong: “Go out there and play like I know you guys can play,” he said. Combining the locker room energy with the talent our girls have, the game ended 54-45 and gave the Patriots an early season crown. The Truman girls were now the center of attention.
Since then, the streak has continued. We’ve secured the #1 spot of the weekly rankings and have kept a respectable 17-1 record. Truman has finally received the spotlight the girls deserve. But one player seems to be a fan favorite, and it’s no question why.
On December 21, 2022, Urya Williams broke the Truman record for most points scored in a single game. During an contest against Lincoln College Prep (which ended 94-54), Williams finished her last bucket to secure 45 points. She’s repeatedly performed to that level and has proven herself to be a dominant player in all aspects of the game, and she’s not afraid of a little contact. Coach Page made it clear that, “several things set her apart from the field. She handles the ball better than any player I’ve ever coached, including the boys teams I coached for 16 years. She is one of the greatest competitors I’ve ever coached.”
After watching her brother play ball, Williams started her journey way back in preschool. As she puts it, “It’s my joy, somewhere I can go to get anything off my brain.” She loves the game and wants to go on to compete at the collegiate level, and eventually the WBNA or overseas. Williams’s high basketball IQ shows through her style of playing. Making smart plays is one of the skills the Truman girls highlight, and Williams is usually right there leading the way.
Growing up and playing ball with Williams has been an interesting experience. From a surface level aspect, she hasn’t changed much in the past five years. She’s always stood out as one of the best players on the court, and continues to be unguardable. But, I think that shows exactly how much she’s grown her game. She was able to get ahead of other athletes in middle school, and continue to get better as she’s moved into her senior year. She never settled; and I think that’s what makes her so remarkable.
Even during the summer when Williams claimed to be playing her worst, she stuck to her off season routine and stayed in the gym to continue training. Her mentality sets her apart from everyone else. Williams claimed that her senior year has pushed her to go as hard as possible, and she wants to go out on top. Motivated by her little sister and mom, she has made it a goal to secure 1,000 points by the end of her last season.
As I’ve watched Williams grow first hand, it’s interesting to see how she’s morphed into the player she is today. A player who, on the outside, is naturally athletic, goofy, and full of energy. But, on the inside, is really a determined, thoughtful, and smart kid looking to succeed. Urya’ Williams isn’t just a point guard who can drop outstanding numbers, she’s also a teenager looking to make her family and herself proud.
Check out some great highlights of Urya’ Williams in this highlight reel from the girls and boys home openers
Hear from Urya’ after the girls’ basketball team got off to a hot start:
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