A leader in class, on court; Burncoat's Hames tops in Div. 1 action.
Byline: Jay Gearan
WORCESTER -- In this historic, stormy winter, just as the snow levels have kept climbing, the points have kept piling up for Burncoat High basketball star Khadijah Hames with her outstanding performances in gyms throughout the area.
"Khadijah is a tremendous student-athlete,'' said Burncoat head coach Dan Rushton. "She first competes in the classroom, and then she competes on the basketball court.''
A quick, left-handed shooting guard, Hames compiled 296 points through 15 games from the season opener in mid-December to Feb. 7. Her 19.7 scoring average placed Hames at the top of all Central Mass. Div. 1 players and also tops in the Inter-High League.
Overall, among Central Mass. players, only Tahanto's Mary Kate O'Day, averaging 22 points and Worcester Academy's Lexi Hackett at 21.6 have higher scoring averages.
"Khadijah has had a wonderful three-year varsity career here,'' Rushton said. "She really does a great job attacking the rim off the dribble, and we run a lot of sets for her to her the corner for a layup.
"But Khadijah is always looking for the best shot for Burncoat, and when her teammates are open, she will pass the ball.''
In the season opener, a two-point loss to Doherty two months ago, the 5-foot-8-inch Hames scored 20 points, including the tying basket with a minute left after the Patriots entered the fourth quarter trailing by nine points.
On Jan. 12 in the second game against Doherty, Hames poured in 29 points with 10 field goals, two 3-pointers and seven free throws. Ten days later against Douglas, Hames notched her highest point total of the season to date, with 30 points including seven field goals, one free throw and 15 points from the foul line.
Hames, 18, said she began playing basketball as a young girl at the Boys & Girls Club of Worcester. "I liked the sport right away,'' she said, and listed her favorite NBA stars as Dwyane Wade and LeBron James.
Even while nursing a sore ankle in late January through the beginning of February, Hames continued to play well and notch double figures in scoring. Recently in games against Sizer and St. Peter-Marian, Hames scored 23 points in each game.
Hames said her favorite type of shot is the 3-pointer, and through 15 games, she had nailed 18 treys.
"Teams throw every type of defense at her, but we still do a good job of getting Khadijah the basketball,'' said Rushton.
"It's been great playing for Burncoat,'' said Hames, who said she would like to continue playing basketball next year in college.
"Or I may go into the Air Force,'' she said.