By Shaun Szkolnik
TRUSSVILLE — From a historic trip to the final four and an even more historic trip the state championship, Hewitt-Trussville girls’ basketball had a storied year. That story got even better when two Trussville student-athletes were recently recognized as outstanding by being selected to the AWSA All-State teams.
Coach Tonya Hunter beamed with joy for her students when she described their achievement.
“This year we have two,” Hunter said, “Amiya Payne on first team and Morgan Kirk, honorable mention. It has been a blessing. People don’t understand it is hard to come by, to be a state player of the year.”
Hunter made it clear how special being selected is.
“It is a great honor,” she said. “You’ve got to think of all the schools and all the kids, girls that are playing basketball. For you to be named on a list that goes down the state, that you’re one of the top players in the state, that is a great feeling.”
Hunter also shared how happy she was for her student athletes.
“For me personally, my passion is not about wins or losses,” she said. “My passion is just for them to have these honors, experiences the best girls’ basketball program that they can. That is where I get my happiness from, watching them be successful. I was blessed as a player to do some of the things they did, and I just want to pay it forward.”
Senior Morgan Kirk was surprised by the news that she had been selected for the honor.
“I didn’t know until my dad told me and I was like, ‘what are you talking about?’” said Kirk. “So, I was not expecting it at all and I was so happy when he told me. It was a blessing, honestly.”
As with any achievement of this level, getting there is not a matter of luck. It requires dedication and devotion.
“All day, everyday basketball,” said sophomore Amiya Payne. “You have to go hard with it, it isn’t something you can take breaks with.”
That is also the advice that Payne would give to a younger student looking to succeed in the world of basketball.
“I feel like anyone can do it, but you’ve got to commit yourself to it,” said Payne. “It can’t be something you’re just interested in, you’ve got to invest in it.”
As for Kirk, she will take from the experience a valuable piece of wisdom.
“To never give up on your dreams,” said Kirk. “Always keep working. Even if things don’t go your way, never stop working.”