TUPPERS PLAINS, Ohio — A memorable May Day.
On May 1 at Eastern High School, senior Madison Williams signed her National Letter of Intent to join the Wilmington College women’s basketball team.
“Signing means a lot to me because I found a place that fits me the most,” said Williams. “The coaching staff and the players made it a really good fit. Being on campus with my teammates feels like home.”
Williams’ high school career had its ups and downs, as she was part of four winning campaigns and four sectional titles, but suffered through four knee surgeries, repairing a trio of ACL injuries and one torn meniscus, ultimately shortening two seasons.
“Going into my senior year I doubted playing, just because of health reasons,” Williams said. “I have a trainer, Josh Walter, he’s helped me strengthen my muscles and condition my body. Everything that I’ve been though has taught me how to overcome adversity. Honestly, my main goal for my college career is getting 3-or-4 years healthy, and anything else that comes will be great too.”
In a complete season on the court as a freshman, Williams averaged 17 points, 3.5 rebounds, three assists and two steals for the 19-7 Lady Eagles. Eastern was district runner-up, and Williams earned spots on the all-Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division team, the all-District 13 first team, the AP all-Southeast District second team, and the All-Ohio honorable mention list.
In her sophomore campaign, the Lady Eagles went 17-7 and were district runner-up for the second straight year. However, Williams’ season was shortened to just 10 games, in which she averaged 6.8 points and scored a season-high of 12 against Federal Hocking.
As a junior, Williams appeared in 11 games and helped the Lady Eagles to a 21-4 record. The 5-9 guard averaged 10.3 points and scored a season-high 19 against Belpre.
Madison noted that one of her favorite memories of high school basketball was the district championship she watched her teammates win in her junior season.
“I was part of the team, but I wasn’t able to be on the court with them,” Williams said. “It was still a great memory.”
In her senior season, Williams was finally able to play the majority of the Lady Eagles games again, averaging 13 points, six rebounds and seven assists per contest.
In helping the Lady Eagles to a 15-8 mark, Williams earned spots on the all-TVC Hocking team, the all-District 13 second team and the all-Southeast District third team. Madison recorded seven points and team-high nine rebounds in final game for the Lady Eagles.
Williams credits the coaching staff at Eastern for helping her achieve the goal of reaching the next level. After being coached by John Burdette for her first two seasons, Williams’ junior and senior campaigns were led by Jacob Parker.
“Madison had a rough career, so to see her make it through her senior season was pretty cool,” Parker said. “To see the work she put into it, from being on the fence about playing because of her health, to now going to play in college just shows what kind of determination she has. She was a huge asset, meant a lot to us and the team. She brought a lot of leadership and played a senior role very, very well.
“The players that I’ve coached that have gone on to the next level, they just work hard, and that’s what it takes play at the next level. She’ll go in work her butt off and make good things happen, I have no doubt.”
During Williams’ four seasons, the Lady Eagles have a combined 52-12 TVC Hocking record.
Williams will be joining a Lady Quakers team that competes in the Ohio Athletic Conference and NCAA Division III. In 2004, the Lady Quakers won the NCAA D-3 championship. Since 1990, the Wilmington College women’s basketball team has been led by head coach Jerry Scheve, who has amassed over 400 career victories.
“We are very excited about Madison playing at Wilmington,” said Scheve. “She is a very talented player who has had to overcome a lot of adversity in her career. Her determination to overcome difficulty, and succeed on the court may be her greatest attribute.”
Williams won’t be the only TVC Hocking alum playing for the Quakers, as 2017 Southern graduate Faith Teaford will be entering her sophomore season for Wilmington.
“She’s really taken me under her wing,” Williams said of her future teammate and former rival. “We’re going to ride up together and work out together in the summer.”
In addition to four seasons of basketball, Williams was also on the EHS track and field team for one season.
Williams plans to major in early childhood education, with a plan to become an intervention specialist.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.