Boynton Beach guard Shakoa Edwards has giant game in small package
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
by Matt Porter
Shakoa Edwards' first name is pronounced a lot like "sequoia." That's ironic, since her team's roster generously lists her at 5-foot-4.
But it's no problem, since Edwards has a giant game.
Edwards, Boynton Beach's hard-charging junior point guard, averages 19.8 points, an area-best 10.5 assists and 7.5 steals. Halfway through her junior year, she is the career leader in assists (389) and steals (312) at her 11-year-old school. She is third in points (964), chasing the record (1,768) set last year by current Florida International freshman Taylor Shade.
With Edwards leading the way, the second-ranked Tigers (10-2, 4-0 in District 15-5A) are running through their schedule. She plays with obvious passion, seemingly hurtling up and down the court at 100 miles per hour. She often has to remind herself to slow down.
"I just love the game of basketball," Edwards said. "That's what motivates me. I play to win."
Edwards learned the game from her two older brothers. They played rough but she was hurt just once: in the sixth grade, a hard-thrown pass in a street football game broke her finger. Today, she hits the deck multiple times per game, but always gets back up.
"She's tough," Boynton coach Lisa Johnson said. "She's always been tough. She's not afraid of any situation."
Her height notwithstanding, Edwards has Division-I skill. Before this season, Edwards improved her 3-point shooting and added a stop-and-pop jumper to her repertoire. Southern Mississippi has verbally offered her a scholarship. South Florida, North Florida and UNC-Wilmington have also shown early interest.
"She's very good with the ball," Johnson said. "Her defense is phenomenal. She sees the first and second pass. She gets her teammates involved, but she knows when she needs to take over the game."
In a game against Dwyer this month -- second-ranked Boynton hosted the top-ranked Panthers -- Edwards was high-intensity. Her team lost by 32, but she was impossible not to watch.
Early in the third quarter, Edwards was poked in the eye while fighting for a defensive rebound, wiping her eyes as she directed traffic up the court. She still charged into the paint like a running back.
Several possessions later, a Dwyer player settled into her free throw routine. Edwards stood at the lane next to 6-foot-5 Kai James, her summer-ball teammate on the Miami Suns. Edwards turned to James and jawed all the way through the first shot, a conspiratorial smile on her face.
James kept her eyes toward the basket but broke up laughing. Another foul and they were at it again, Edwards barking up a very tall tree.
"She has this thing where she steps on your foot and pushes you back," a grinning James said after the game. "She told me she was going to break my ankles. She's a funny kid. It's a test [playing her]. She brings it to you."
Near the end of the quarter, Edwards leaped and rejected a Dwyer shot but was called for a foul. Hopping mad over the call, she raced to the other end of the court before settling down. As the buzzer ended the quarter, she banked in a 35-footer. Now it was the crowd who jumped around - Edwards coolly walked off the court.
"She's got confidence, but she's not conceited," Johnson said. "She believes she has the ability to do a lot of things, but doesn't think she doesn't have room to grow."