Demarco Moore, Sports Writer
MANCHESTER, Tenn. — Alliyah Williams’ impressive career at Coffee County Central has seen her split time between two sports without ever leaving the hardwood.
The senior, who was named the Manchester Times Female Athlete of the Year by select area media members, coaches and administrators, is a four-year basketball and volleyball player at CCHS that has no problem letting people know which court sport she prefers – basketball.
“Because I know it better,” Williams explained.
“But basketball, I feel like, is more fluent to me. I started playing volleyball my freshman year, and the only reason I played is because my sister [Aerial] played, and I just stuck with it.”
Williams helped lead the Lady Raider volleyball team to the 2017 District 8-AAA championship, as well as secure a berth in the Region 4-AAA tournament. She is also a member of a Lady Raider basketball team that is currently 10-1 overall and 2-0 in district play thus far.
“I want to thank coach [Andrew] Taylor and my parents, because I think coach Taylor definitely pushed me when I didn’t want to,” Williams said.
“[With my parents], if I do something bad, I hear about it for the next three weeks. It doesn’t leave my parents ever.”
Williams is also a member of the Future Business Leaders of America at CCHS, as well as the Health Occupation Students of America.
She plans to pursue a career in orthodontics and eventually leave basketball alone.
“I don’t want to make a living off playing basketball,” explained Williams. “I just want to be an orthodontist and get everything out of the way. It’s fun now. I don’t want to be playing this when I’m like 30 years old.”
Lawrence locks down Times Male AOTY
After watching recent University of Tennessee signee Alontae Taylor receive the honor three years in a row, Coffee County Central senior Reid Lawrence has been named the Manchester Times Male Athlete of the Year, as voted on by select area members, coaches and administrators at CCHS.
For Lawrence, winning the award came as a surprise.
“I don’t even know if I fully feel like I deserved that,” he said. “It’s pretty humbling I guess. Pretty awesome.”
But just taking one look at the accomplishments of the senior will help anyone understand that the honor is well deserved.
Lawrence has committed to four sports – golf, tennis, wrestling and soccer – during his time at CCHS, and has excelled in golf and tennis. He was a member of the most recent Red Raider golf team, which made it the Large Class state tournament as a whole for the first time in school history.
And after picking up the sport of tennis a little over a year prior to last season, Lawrence and teammate Grey Riddle won the District 8-AAA championship in doubles.
“Reid is one of those athletes that could play just about any sport,” said Mike Ray, who doubles as the CCHS boys’ golf and tennis coach. “He is a gifted athlete that puts his heart and soul into whatever he does.”
Lawrence doesn’t mind the challenge of balancing multiple sports. He says it helps him stay occupied with something positive, so that nothing negative has the chance to take the place of his free time.
And there’s always winning too.
“It keeps you out of trouble,” he explained.
“I think that’s a big thing – it keeps you busy, and I really like winning under the school’s name. You’re never sitting around.”
“If you play one or two sports, in the offseason you’re not doing anything. I like playing something year round. I get bored when there’s not something going on.”
When he’s not teeing off, rallying serves, fighting to avoid a pin fall or attempting to score goals, Lawrence is helping to plan student activities as a senior class representative for Student Government. One of those activities involves coordinating the student section, which has thrived at home basketball games this season.
“The student section thing was big this year, because last year the student section sucked,” he said.
“It’s the same thing with all sports as it is with the student body. I think the more you put into it, the more you’re gonna’ get out of it. So, more time you put it in towards student involvement, that’s gonna’ come back and help you.”
When it’s all said and done, Lawrence can’t pick one sport over the other, because they each have his full attention and focus once the other ends.
“Each time you start playing golf, you get into golf, and each time you start playing tennis you get into that,” he said.
“And now that I’m [going to be] playing soccer, I’m all into soccer.”
Reach Demarco Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow him on Twitter @iam__demo