Ki'Miyah Williams file photo

Southeast Lauderdale point guard Ki’Miyah Williams, left, dribbles around a West Lauderdale defender during their game earlier this season at Southeast Lauderdale.

When Ki’Miyah Williams was an underclassman, Southeast Lauderdale girls basketball coach Dana Buchanan said things could be rocky with her young point guard at times.

“When she was younger she would make me beat my head against the wall because she wanted to do things her way,” Buchanan said with a chuckle. “When I say, ‘Do things her way,’ if it worked one time then she wanted to keep doing it that way even if there’s a better way to do it.”

But Williams matured and has become the Lady Tigers’ go-to scorer as an upperclassman. Last season, she averaged 17.8 points and 3.4 assists per contest, and Buchanan said their player-coach chemistry has allowed Williams to blossom.

“I think we have that trust that maybe we didn’t have when she was younger,” Williams said. “Now it’s not so much convincing her to do it my way. I think she believes in our system and what we’re doing, and that helps as far as coaching her and having her lead everybody else in the right direction.”

The problem, Williams said, was a lack of confidence in her younger years.

“I got frustrated with myself and thought I wasn’t ready for high school ball,” Williams recalled. “I didn’t have a lot of confidence coming in from middle school because we didn’t do much in middle school that we have to do in high school.”

One thing that did carry over from middle school was Williams’ desire to shoot. While she may not have been comfortable in Buchanan’s system at first, she wasn’t afraid to keep taking shots no matter how many she might’ve missed at the start of a game.

“In middle school I was that player that they wanted to shoot it, so I had to every time I got the ball,” Williams said. “In high school it’s been the same from 10th grade on.”

Buchanan has no problem with Williams taking a lot of shots — in fact, she encourages it.

“She shoots the ball extremely well, and she’s also one of those kids who, the more she shoots the ball, the better she shoots,” Buchanan said. “She doesn’t get nervous about taking a shot at all. I’ve had players who have been that way in the past, but even when she was in the ninth and 10th grade and playing with Shakira (Wilson) that year we were pretty good (2018-19), she wouldn’t hesitate. She’s had that mentality even as a young kid, and it’s still here.”

Said Williams, “She tells me to keep shooting, and as soon as I knock one down, they start going in.”

Floor awareness and a desire for greatness are also Williams’ strengths, Buchanan said, and the one thing Williams can’t stand is turning the ball over.

“She wants the ball to come to her, she wants the game to come to her, and I think you have to have that mentality if you want to be a good player,” Buchanan said. “She probably gets more upset about throwing the ball away than missing a shot, and to me that’s a good thing because you always want to protect the basketball. That’s something I do think she does a really good job of.”

The frustration comes not just because she’s running point for Southeast Lauderdale, but also from the fact that Williams is one of the team’s leaders, and she doesn’t want to set an example of being careless with the basketball.

“I hate turnovers,” Williams said. “I know my role being a point guard and being a leader means I have to protect the ball, so when I turn it over, it looks bad.”

Now that she’s a senior, Williams said she’s far more comfortable than she was as a freshman, and that comes from the trust she’s developed with Buchanan.

“I have a lot more confidence,” Williams said. “I know a lot more, and she’s taught me a lot and made me a better player. She’s been a mentor to me and helps me keep my head on straight. Everything I need to know she knows, and anything I ask her she has an answer to.”

Williams is set to graduate in May, and she said she wants to continue her basketball career beyond high school.

“I want to go Division I, and I want college coaches to come watch me and tell me what I need to work on and how to work on it,” Williams said.

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