The Evans High School media center got a little loud last week, and it was all because of one very quiet Lady Knight.
Friends, family, faculty, teammates and coaches all cheered in unison Thursday as Evans senior Kiley Smith signed a letter of intent to attend Emmanuel College on a basketball scholarship next fall.
The signing ceremony started with a prayer, and after Smith sealed her deal, the attendees converged on a hospitality table filled with a cake and other treats.
All in all, it was a sweet day for the left-handed point guard.
"This is an opportunity that she's probably been waiting for since middle school," Evans coach Tim Whitfield said. "I'm tickled pink for Kiley. A door has been opened for her."
When she joins Emmanuel's Lady Lions, Smith will attempt to continue a trend - she has been a starter since she was a middle school basketball player, and has been starting the past four years with the Evans varsity.
Along with gaining experience on the court, the soft-spoken Smith has learned how to lead.
"I've always been kind of quiet, and never really wanted to stand up to people, but I had to take that leadership role," she said.
While playing time was never a problem, the Lady Knights regularly faced some of the best prep squads in the state, and that meant plenty of long nights for Smith.
But she says the losses never got her down. "No, because it's basketball, and I love basketball. The competition has helped me a lot. It makes my skills go up when we played teams with so much experience."
Times really got tough in 2001-02, when Smith's close friend and teammate Shannon Colbert had to quit basketball because of health problems.
"Losing Shannon my senior year was the hardest. I took it hard; I cried," Smith said at the signing. "That's what makes today such a blessing. It's all been worth it."
Smith capped her senior season at Evans by being named Most Valuable Player. She plans to major in physical therapy at Emmanuel College, an NAIA program located in Franklin Springs, Ga.
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