There’s only one thing on Zamiya Brown’s mind this season: ending Amanda Elzy’s district title drought. The Lady Panthers haven’t taken home the hardware since 1992, way before their current star sophomore was born.
A versatile guard who can also play forward, Brown has looked like a baller beyond her years as an underclassman, averaging 22.8 points over her last five games as Elzy (5-2, 3-0) has blown out its first three Region 3-3A opponents.
“She’s aggressive, and her attitude toward work is exceptional,” third-year coach Michael Curry said of Brown. “She’s just non-stop. When you’re aggressive like that and you have that want-to attitude, the sky is the limit. She has that ability.”
Brown grew up watching Candace Parker, admiring the WNBA star’s aggressiveness as well as her leadership skills.
“When I watch her, she’s very aggressive on the floor,” Brown said. "She stays positive with her team and pushes people to be great.”
Curry and the Lady Panthers see some of those same qualities in Brown, who first won over her squad’s support as a freshman who simply refused to slow down during practice.
“Even if she’s tired, she still won’t stop,” senior teammate Parris Collins said. “She’s going to give 100% and the team feeds off her energy. She’s constantly picking us up and that’s really who she is.”
“She has really good leadership skills,” Collins added. “We’ll be at practice just sitting around waiting and she’ll be like, ‘C’mon y’all, wake up. Let’s do this, let’s do this.’ We’re trying to win district and then go to state.”
With the mindset of a veteran, Brown has helped glue together an Elzy roster that was robbed of an offseason by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Normally, Brown suits up for the Future Champions AAU team, but this summer she was limited to backyard pick-up games aside from a couple weeks of training at Mississippi Valley State University.
It’s exciting for Curry to think about where his star pupil could be by her senior year with two full offseasons under Brown's belt to add outside shooting to her arsenal.
“Her ball-handling skills have got to improve and her shot has to improve,” Curry said. “Otherwise, she’s going to become a well-rounded basketball player. She has all the ability in the world. Her attitude is good, her work ethic is excellent.
“There’s some minor things we have to work on, but we’re going to get that done. You’re going to see a difference from this year to next year.”
The only Region 3-3A foe that Brown and the Lady Panthers have yet to beat — Coahoma Agricultural — awaits them on the schedule next Friday.
• Contact Riley Overend at 581-7234 or email@example.com. Follow @OverendOut on Twitter.