The bounce back season of Academy of Science's Nakiyah Hurst plus tidbits from Slinger and G'Town featured in the girls basketball takeaways
The pandemic has created a lot of comeback stories this basketball season. Milwaukee Academy of Science senior Nakiyah Hurst is shaping up to be one of the best. One year after COVID ripped away most of the 6-foot wing's junior season and cast her into the shadows, she has returned to build on the promise she showed in her first two seasons. The latest example came Saturday when she scored 21 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in a 72-56 win over Milwaukee Languages at home. She had 16 points in the second half when her team outscored the Hawks by 12. “She’s just matured …,” MAS coach Giovani Riley said. “She’s just been a beast for us and we’re just going to try to ride the wave and hopefully we can get us one.” Milwaukee Academy of Science (17-2) will be one of the favorites in Division 4 when the postseason starts later this month. Hurst has been in that position before. Three years ago she was one of the underclassman Shemera Williams led to the state tournament. Today, Hurst fills a similar role for a team that features just two seniors who are key players. Her size combined with the ability to handle the ball, score from the perimeter and in the paint make her unique. The North Dakota recruit had solid numbers last season, 14.7 ppg and 11.4 rpg, but MAS, hamstrung by the pandemic, played just six regular-season games. With life more back to normal this year, MAS has played a full schedule. Hurst leads the team in scoring (19.7 ppg) and rebounding (11.8 rpg) and is third in assists (3.2 apg) and steals (3.1 spg). Her field-goal percentage of .575 is well ahead of the clip she made last season (.350). “As I came along with a better team, I developed more skills, from point guard to two guard to being more of a paint person,” she said. “I think I know how to work with the team and be better player overall.”
While MAS’ previous standout teams were known because of Williams' play, this year’s group is actually a three-headed monster that also includes junior guards Lalani Ellis (17.6 ppg, 7.8 rpg) and Beautiful Waheed (16.7 ppg, 7.2 rpg).
Together they give the team three players capable of making plays with the ball and scoring. With those three leading the way, the Novas have put together a resume that includes wins over Beaver Dam which is 19-2 and leads the Badger East, and Sun Prairie, which is a half-game out of first in the Big Eight. There was also a six-point loss to Pius XI, the Woodland West leader.
Those teams play in Division 1 or 2. MAS, which has an enrollment of 305, is a Division 4 school.
Hurst believes this year’s team is better than the 2019 state tournament team she started on as a freshman. With a deeper roster – the team’s 11 players are the most of Riley’s five seasons as coach – it’s hard to argue with her.
“We’re always with each other. We always see each other," Hurst said. "That’s the bond we have and the sisterhood that we have as a team.
“We all want to win. There is only one goal on this team: to win state for the first time.”
Content Source: MJS