Watson Wins Miss Basketball

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

DETROIT (AP) -- Kellie Watson was surprised when her coach told her she had been named Michigan's Miss Basketball.
Ionia coach Andy Barr might have been the least-shocked person in the state. After all, he'd been expecting it for six years.
"When Kellie was in the sixth grade, I already knew she was going to be a very special player," he said. "It wasn't hard to see."
Barr called Watson Saturday morning with news of the award. Watson was on her way to see Notre Dame play Seton Hall -- she will be playing for the Fighting Irish next season.
"I was excited, but I didn't go nuts or anything," Watson said at the award ceremony Monday. "I was more surprised, because I didn't get to play the whole season."
In January, Watson missed several games after dislocating her left shoulder, the same one she had injured as a junior. She finished the season wearing a brace, which limited her movement.
"I haven't taken a shot with my left hand since the injury, and I normally shoot with both hands," she said. "It's also hard to get rebounds, because I can't reach up with the brace."
Watson knew the injury would eventually need surgery, and she and Barr conferred with Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw about the timing. McGraw could have asked Watson to have the operation immediately, in order to give her more time to heal before her freshman season in college, but didn't do that.
"She told me to play and enjoy my senior season," Watson said. "That's what I wanted to do. Unless the doctors told me I couldn't, I wasn't going to sit out my senior year."
Instead, Watson will have the surgery on Thursday.
"There's a bone chip that they are going to try to put back, my labrum is torn again and they are going to tighten my shoulder up," she said. "Once this surgery heals, I shouldn't have any problems."
Watson had a happier discussion with McGraw on Saturday, telling her future coach about her award.
"She was so happy that she jumped right into the air," Watson said. "She's pretty small, but she's got ups."
Watson's high-school career ended with a playoff loss to Portland -- she dislocated her shoulder again in the game, but returned to the game after it was put back into place. Barr hated to see his team lose, but his biggest regret about Watson came several years ago.
"In 2003, we had a really good team, and our point guard tore her ACL in the 18th game of the season," he said. "We couldn't really replace her, so it was really frustrating to know that Kellie was good enough to help us, but she couldn't play because she was only in the eighth grade."
Instead, she joined the team in 2004, and was named MVP after spending the season at power forward. She played her final three years at point guard.
"I wish we had had a point guard, because Kellie could have done more if we could have played her in several positions," Barr said. "But she has still be the face of our program and even of our community. If you think about Ionia these days, you think about Kellie Watson."


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