In the eighth grade, Ashley Williams understood situations and making moves that Alcovy coach Kidada Holtzclaw was trying to get her Lady Tigers to make during high school practices.
When she first saw Williams, Holtzclaw knew she would be a special player.
Throughout her previous three years in the black and gold, Williams hasn't disappointed her now high school coach, being a pivotal member of Alcovy's best teams and a fixture down low.
Saturday, her accomplishments were proven statistically when she reached 1,000 career points during a 32-point performance in a 50-47 win over Berkmar.
"I can't say enough about who Ashley is as a person and as a player," Holtzclaw said. "I knew she was going to be something special and she has matured. She is a beast athletically and she is a leader."
Williams began playing in eighth grade, the same year Holtzclaw first noticed the future Alcovy center making drop steps and post-moves against middle school competition. Before she entered competition on the middle school team, Williams participated in Antonio Davis' big-man camp, which helped set the foundation for what would become a stellar high school career.
"She was making skill type moves and fundamental moves as an eighth grader and has gotten better and better," Holtzclaw said. "And the funny thing is, she's still a little raw. When she gets to the next level, the sky is the limit for her."
In Williams' freshman season, the Tigers struggled with just three wins, followed up by an 18-11 season as Williams and her fellow sophomores matured. It was also the Tigers first year in the state playoffs, something they would follow up on in her junior year.
The 2011-12 season is when Williams and the Tigers came out to the rest of the state.
Alcovy reached the state's final four, going 27-5, picking up a 60-48 win in the first round of the playoffs, a 71-62 win in the sweet 16 and a 51-40 victory to earn a date in the Gwinnett Arena.
That season also marked big games for Williams, who reached 1,000 points and became part of a "big three" with Megan Tucker and Kate Palo. Palo and Tucker are the only other members of Alcovy's 1,000 point club, with Tucker still adding to that total since Palo has moved on.
Tucker and Williams now form the core of Alcovy's 2012-13 season.
"Basically they came in and were the last of the pioneers of Alcovy's success," Holtzclaw said. "They have played a pivotal part and have been leaders since they stepped on the court for us and they've been a great one-two-punch."
Williams takes on more of a key role this season with Palo having moved on to Georgia College as she tries to form a new inside-outside combination with senior Kacey Palo.
If Saturday's game is an indication, then Kacey and her fellow back court teammates will have less trouble acclimating to more playing time thanks to Williams' leadership.
Holtzclaw said Williams is a strong leader both on and off the court, and that along with her new basketball goals, will help carry her to her Division I future. Last week, Williams signed a letter of intent to play at Alabama, where she hopes to continue developing to one day play professionally.
"I've got several former teammates who have played professionally and Ashley over the past couple years has decided that's something she'd like to do," said Holtzclaw a former Alabama player.