Augusta Prep’s Julia Hatcher hasn’t always loved basketball, but admits that it has become something of an obsession for her as her talent and skills have grown.
“It has been my passion for a while now,” the 15-year-old sophomore said. “I just love the sport.”
That wasn’t always the case. Julia began playing in the sixth grade in the Augusta Eagles homeschool team. She didn’t see much playing time and hadn’t developed the skills yet to contribute on the court.
“My first year I was terrible,” Julia said.
She kept at it, however, and began to learn the sport, but it wasn’t until her eighth- grade year that she caught fire. Julia said the team was taking part in a tournament in Greenville, S.C., and no one expected them to compete, let alone win.
“We weren’t expected to do very well,” she said.
But in each game, the underdog team managed to find a way to win. The championship game went down to the wire, with the Eagles pulling out a last-minute 2-point victory.
“That was the game that I realized I loved basketball,” she said. “I love to compete.”
The 5-2 point guard said she is unconcerned about the bigger girls she faces in each game. She said she tries to be fearless on the court.
“I like to drive into the paint and shoot my floater,” she said.
Girls varsity coach Myran Hunt admires Hatcher’s oversized competitive spirit.
“She’s a scrapper,” Hunt said. “She will to take it to the basket and draw the foul, and she’s not afraid to get on the floor.”
Hunt said Hatcher’s “slashing style” of play has made her a great asset in what has been a rebuilding year for Augusta Prep. Julia is averaging about 8 points per game and about 4 assists, but he sees a lot of potential as she continues to develop and learn over the next two seasons.
“She came to us out of nowhere,” Hunt said of the former homeschooler. “ She was a great pickup.”
Julia, the oldest of five children – she has a younger brother, Sam, and three adopted siblings, Jaida, Xin and Lulu – said she feels a lot of pressure because she wants to set a good example, so she works hard at academics and tries to improve her skills with every practice.
“I try to leave everything out on the court,” she said.
Julia said she is enjoying her first year at Prep and is looking forward to what lies ahead.
“I have made a lot of good friends here,” she said. “I just want to make the most of it.”