It’s rare to find Samiya Terry speechless, but with the biggest basketball game of her life just days away, the Wilson senior couldn’t find the words to quell the emotional storm inside.
“Yesterday I had a full cry session,” Terry said. “I’ve been feeling the pressure.”
Terry and her Wilson girls’ basketball teammates will try to make history on Saturday when they face Eisenhower in the CIF Southern Section Division 3A championship at Godinez High. The Bruins haven’t won a title in 20 years.
“Everyone has been saying they hope we win,” Terry said. “Even people from the 2000 team have contacted me. That’s so much pressure. Twenty years and it’s all in our hands?! That’s crazy.”
Terry was able to calm down this week because of some sage advice from Wilson activities director Erin Fekjar.
“She’s my mentor and she’s been giving me a speech this whole week,” Terry said. “She told me we’re champions no matter what, that we’re going to bring home a plaque no matter what, so just play our game and we’ll be fine… She’s been really helping me calm my nerves down.”
Terry was the go-to scorer for Wilson last season, but the return of Ashley Hawkins has allowed Terry to become and X-factor who fills the stat box. The 6’1” senior is averaging 9.4 points, 2.2 assists, 1.6 steals, 1.2 blocks and a team-high 7.2 rebounds per game this season.
“You can’t deny Samiya’s athleticism and length,” Wilson coach Erin Carey said. “Once her arms and legs are fully extended it’s tough to get by her… She’s in a new role, and we’re not calling on her like that as much. But we know she’s going to step up when we need her to.”
Terry has answered the call this month with 57 points and 23 rebounds in three playoffs games.
“She’s senior class president and she leads in everything she does,” Carey said. “Even her quiet isn’t really quiet. I think that’s more her personality than it is her trying to be a leader. She’s that type of person. Whether she wants to or not, she’s going to lead.”
We caught up with Terry before practice on Thursday to ask the tough questions…
Question: What’s your favorite movie?
Terry: Love & Basketball.
Q: Do you have a favorite book?
Terry: I’m a big Harry Potter fan.
Q: Who is your favorite character?
Terry: Ron. He’s witty. He’s the serious one, and you always need that serious friend to keep you on track. Ron is that for Harry.
Q: Who is your serious friend who keeps you on track?
Terry: Kara Timmons. We’ve only been friends since ninth grade, but I knew her because we played basketball against each other in middle school. I went to Hudson and she went to Tincher, and we lost every single year. Lily Buggs was on that team. We never won.
Q: How about a favorite TV show?
Terry: Love Is Blind is my show on Netflix. That show is A-1. My favorite character is Lauren. The story is that you have to marry this person you’ve never met before. Lauren is a black women, and she’s in love with this white guy. I just feel like they’re breaking society pressures in an interracial couple. They don’t care what society thinks.
Q: What personalty does your Wilson team have this year?
Terry: Very goofy. Our team runs on goofiness. We have a lot of characters. We’ve got people who are naturally funny, and some people who don’t tend to be funny, but it just comes off as funny.
Q: Who is the funniest?
Terry: Nylah Hines. She is very blunt. She’ll tell you the truth, and it’s just going to be funny when it comes out.
Q: We see you having a good time out there too.
Terry: I do the weirdest stuff ever. In practice I’ll just start dancing or make faces while coach is talking. I know I’m not supposed to do that, but you have to lighten up the mood in serious situations. If you get too serious it’s going to get too boring and you’re not going to want to do it anymore.
Q: Have you always been like that?
Terry: Yeah, everyone’s always looking at me for laughter. I’m usually just a happy person.
Q: You also played volleyball at Wilson…
Terry: But I feel like I’m a basketball player. My IQ is better with basketball. It’s really a mind game.
Q: Did we hear correctly that your parents went to Wilson?
Terry: My dad played basketball and my mom was the head cheerleader… I just always knew I wanted to go to Wilson. My aunt and uncle went here to. It’s the family environment. The moment I stepped on campus everyone knew whose daughter I was. It’s loving how they all support you and want to be there for you.
Q: Are you excited to go play basketball at Cal State Monterey Bay?
Terry: Yes, very. I want to be that freshman starter for them, and I want to get a job so I can provide on my own. I’m used to having my mom and dad provide for me, but I just want to have that adult experience first hand.
Q: What kind of job?
Terry: Maybe Target. I love Target. You can get anything at Target, and I’d get a discount.
Q: Do you have any other interests?
Terry: I can really draw. My drawings were in the Long Beach Museum of Art in the teen section.
Q: Where did that passion come from?
Terry: My grandmother on my mom’s side, Linda. She taught me everything. We would just sit and have drawing sessions. I like drawing cartoons. I want to go into animation as a side job, because I want to major in kinesiology. I would love to have my own cartoon character.
Q: Are you working on anything right now?
Terry: I don’t have a name yet, but I want to have a black super hero that empowers young black kids to push further in life.
Q: So, are you ready for this game on Saturday?
Terry: After having talked to (Fekjar) I’m ready. I’m ready to do it for the city. For LB.