0

LaKiah Sims hopes to keep the Drew Titans in thick of region race

Drew’s Sims hopes to keep team in thick of region race

Drew senior LaKiah Sims has been a four-year starter for the Titans’ program. She has several colleges recruiting her, but will wait until after the season to make a decision. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)

Drew senior LaKiah Sims has been a four-year starter for the Titans’ program. She has several colleges recruiting her, but will wait until after the season to make a decision. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)

photo

LaKiah Sims says she has to be a leader on and off the court for her young Drew High teammates this season. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)

RIVERDALE — LaKiah Sims knows if the Drew girls basketball team is going to challenge for the region title and state playoff spot, she has to have a big year.

But the senior’s teammates say they are willing to do their part.

“It has been a lot on my back, but I’m ready to take that challenge,” said Sims, the lone senior in the Titans’ lineup. “I can’t give up. I have to push this team, and help us get better.”

So far, Sims and her teammates have been up to the challenge. Drew sports a 8-2 overall record and 5-0 in the region. The Titans losses have come to Langston Hughes and St. Francis by a combined two points.

With this being Sims’ last year, the four-year starter wants to return to the postseason after missing it last season with a first-round region tournament loss.

“It is my final year, I want to go out big,” said Sims, who was named to the all-county and all-region team last season. “There is a lot of pressure to help this team come through.”

In addition to her statistical leadership, Titan teammates say Sims is also the leader of the team.

“She is like our big sister,” junior Shun Gayden said. “We feed off of her. She is a big part of our team.”

But she is not the only component to the team.

“She can’t be the only one scoring and rebounding for us,” Gayden said. “We all have to do our job to help this team win.”

Sophomore guard Jada Hargrove agreed.

“It is a lot of pressure on the whole team to do their job,” she said. “We all have to share the pressure equally. We just have to be consistent and do what it takes to win games.”

Sims has received interest from Georgia Tech, South Carolina, Kennesaw State, Western Carolina, and East Carolina, among other schools. She has a 3.38 grade-point average and is waiting to get her test scores back. She said she has put recruiting on hold while working toward her team goals.

“I really can’t worry about all that right now,” Sims said. “I know it puts some pressure on me, but I have to put that to the side. I will worry about that at the end of the season. My focus has been on helping this team.”

Drew coach Candence Jackson has praised Sims for her on and off the court leadership, and the way she has played so far this season through the first 10 games.

“She is a very vocal leader for us,” Jackson said. “She knows she has to carry the team. Because of what she has done for us in the past, there is a bull’s eye on her back. It is important that all the players play their role on the team. She knows what it takes to help lead this team.”