What coaches appreciate most in their players is the ablity to rise to the occasion. Etiwanda High School’s Amy Okonkwo did just that every time out.
The 6-foot-1 junior forward scored a season-high 28 points in the Eagles’ 73-72 win over Mater Dei,
then ranked No. 1 in the nation, in the CIF Southern Section semifinal. Included in that point tally was a 3-pointer in overtime that gave her team a 67-64 lead it never relinquished.
She also registered 19 against Corona Santiago in the CIF championship game and 18 against Long Beach Poly in a state playoff loss.
Okonkwo, 16, is the Inland Valley Girls Basketball Player of the Year.
“She rose to the occasion time and time again against the better teams,” Etiwanda coach Anders Anderson says. “She isn’t cocky or
overconfident but she has an air of confidence about her. The other girls know she is going to deliver.”
Okonkwo, who is being recruited by a bevy of Division I schools, many of those Pac 12, averaged 15.7 points and 9.5 rebounds her first year with the Eagles (28-4) after transferring from Baseline League rival Los Osos along with junior
Sometimes moving into a new environment can be difficult but that didn’t prove to be the case, with Okonkwo already having played with most of the Etiwanda players in travel ball or at Day Creek Middle School.
“I really wasn’t that nervous about it because I already knew the girls,” she said. “They accepted me right away and made it easy.”
Anderson says the player’s demeanor was a factor in the smooth transition.
“She didn’t come in here with an attitude or telling us what she had done,” Anderson said. “She just wanted to do her part and help us
win. She fit in from the very start.”
Okonkwo, who plans to major in kinesiology, is preparing for the next level. Anderson says she needs to work on conditioning. Competing in track this spring helps. She is looking for a third straight league title in shot put.
Okonkwo also want to work on her ball-handling skills.
“In college I might have to be a guard,” she said. “I can’t just count on being tall because at that level everyone is pretty big. I want to be able to do whatever they want me to do.”
Posted: 04/17/2013 07:00:00 PM PDT