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Blur of a guard

The Baltimore Sun

The Jan. 7 showdown with No. 2 St. Frances had just ended, and there was time, if she had wanted to take it, for Seton Keough's B.J. Williams to savor a convincing win.

But that would have meant slowing down, and these days Williams, perhaps the area's best girls point guard, isn't doing anything slowly. She's a blur of motion, almost all of it productive, as she was that Monday in leading the top-ranked Gators to a 62-40 win over the Panthers. It was time to move, and Williams did.

"We just came out with a lot of intensity," Williams said after recording 13 points, five assists and two steals. "We were ready to go. We know this is our year. We're just trying to show people what we can do."

Williams' pace, though decidedly up-tempo, is not like the March Hare's "I'm late, I'm late" anxiety, but it's fast enough to allow her to take opponents off the dribble or to get into the lane and draw and pass either inside or to a shooter on the wing.

What Williams is remarkably adept at is performing the delicate dance of the point guard, meaning she keeps things moving at a fast pace, but not so fast as to lead to sloppy play.

"That's what a [point] guard is, the quarterback on the court," Seton Keough center Asya Bussie said. "All we have to do is finish for her."

For Williams, a 5-foot-6 senior, this season might be as much about reminding the area what she can do as helping show what the Gators, who are 16-2 overall and unbeaten in Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland play, are capable of.

Williams, whose given first and middle names are Brittany Joy, was an All-Metro guard as a sophomore, but missed about half of last season with academic problems. Though she returned to the squad in time for the conference tournament, the Gators, who finished the year 21-5, lost to St. Frances by one point in the semifinals as Williams missed two shots in the final 12 seconds.

"I think B.J. kind of feels like she let us down last year with not being able to play, so she came back strong," Seton Keough senior guard Arika Ullman said.

Indeed. Williams, who returned this season with a commitment to doing well in the classroom, has been impressive on the court. She scored 20 points in a 53-41 win over then-No. 4 Arundel in December, including 12 in the fourth quarter.

"I'm just playing with a lot of urgency," said Williams, who has drawn interest from Virginia Commonwealth and Rhode Island.

Said Seton Keough coach Jackie Boswell: "She brings an added level of intensity. When she's on the floor, our intensity level raises up. Katelyn Fischer [a junior who missed the Jan. 7 game with the flu] did a phenomenal job last year handling the ball for us, and she's doing a great job this year.

"But [by] adding B.J. to that mix, she can create shots for herself, and she can find the open person. With the intensity that she brings, she makes us a different team out there on the floor."

Boswell said Williams is playing the way the coaching staff expected her to when she came to Seton Keough as a freshman, with the kind of wisdom gained from understanding mistakes made and deciding not to repeat them.

In other words, by slowing down a little to learn, B.J. Williams has regained the opportunity to go fast.


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