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2,000 Points Later, Watkinson's DaChé Williams Still Humble On The Court

Lori Riley

7:20 PM EST, February 23, 2013

WEST HARTFORD —

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When DaChé Williams arrived at the Watkinson School in the middle of eighth grade, she was very shy.

"She wanted to be 5 feet tall instead of 5-11," Watkinson athletic director Kerry Boyle said.

"I'll never forget her very first game," Watkinson girls basketball coach Yassine Talhaoui said. "She was an eighth-grader. She couldn't make eye contact. Head down. I'd seen her play but I didn't know what to expect.

"She scored 32 points in her first game. Her very first game. It was a sign."

Talhaoui laughed. A little over four years later, on Thursday night in the Hudson Valley Athletic League tournament semifinal game against The Harvey School, Williams, a 6-2 senior forward from Bloomfield, became the first basketball player at Watkinson to score 2,000 points.

She had another 24 (and 13 rebounds) Saturday afternoon against Christian Heritage of Trumbull in a 45-30 victory that snagged Watkinson its third HVAL tournament championship in the last four years. On Wednesday, the Rams (20-3) will begin the quest for their second New England Prep School title. The championship game is Sunday at Loomis Chaffee.

"She is, for sure, the best female athlete to come out of this school," Boyle said. "We encourage the kids to be multi-sport athletes. She had never played soccer but we really needed her. So she played goalie and was a New England All-Star all four years."

Williams started playing basketball when she was 5 years old, with her brothers and cousins. She didn't play with girls until she started AAU in eighth grade, the year she started playing varsity at Watkinson. By her sophomore year, she had scored her 1,000th point.

"It was actually really easy," Williams said. "I had to score 28 points to get my 1,000th point and it seemed like I made every shot. I don't know why."

After that, she had words "2,000 points" stitched onto her basketball sneakers.

"I set another goal for myself," she said. "I think I play better under pressure."

Well, it was tougher than she expected Thursday. There were TV cameras and friends and family gathered in the stands. And it was the HVAL tournament semifinal against Harvey (the same team she scored her 1,000th point against). Her team needed to win and also, the Cavaliers were not about to let her get her 2,000th easily. Williams needed 12.

"He wasn't giving her anything," Boyle said of the Harvey coach, laughing. "He had two people on her."

"Oh man," Williams said. "I definitely was a little anxious going into the game. Sometimes I can score pretty easily but in my head, I was like, 'Let's get the 12 points out of the way so we can play.' I was forcing shots.

"Then it came and I played my normal game. I got it with a minute left on the clock going into [halftime]."

The game was stopped. She gave the game ball to her mom in the stands. After the game, she cried.

"The entire school gave her a standing ovation [the next day]," Talhaoui said. "I'm not the kind of coach who likes individual accolades because it's a team sport but when you look at her, you know she deserves that."

At one point this season, Talhaoui even felt like he had to sit down and remind her about the 2,000-point thing.

"About 100 points away, the stereotypical player would go hard every single game, just shooting, shooting, shooting, to get the points," Talhaoui said. "She started passing more than ever, as she got closer. I had to say to her, 'Um, at what point are you going to score, and get to your 2,000th point?' It was funny."

Williams loves science. She's taking physics and anatomy and physiology and wants to study kinesiology at Northeastern, where she will play basketball next year. She could have gone to LaSalle, Hartford, Fairfield, Hofstra or a number of other schools. Not that she was bragging about the attention to Talhaoui during the recruiting process.

"She had probably 15 Division I scholarship offers," he said. "I'm the coach, and I would hear from [coaches] but if it wasn't for that, I wouldn't have known about it. I'm her adviser and her coach and she wouldn't tell me she got off the phone with Villanova or Northeastern that morning. She's so humble. She lets her game speak for itself."