As a junior at Heritage High School two years ago, Kathryn Inman played in four games, made three of eight field goals attempted, was 0-for-2 from 3-point range and went 5-of-6 from the free-throw line to finish with a season scoring average of 2.8 points per contest.
Her senior year, she went off.
Inman, a 5-foot-3 guard who signed with Tennessee Wesleyan College at the end of the school year, had a final campaign with the Lady Mountaineers Heritage coach Rick Howard described as “amazing” in its transformation. Inman’s scoring average rose to a team-best 16.1 points per game, knocking down 41 percent of her shots. She hit 53 of her 138 treys.
She would fail to reach double figures only four times in 25 games for Heritage during the 2010-11 season. Six times she dropped 20 or more points on an opponent, including Hardin Valley, who caught 29 in only the third game of the season.
“She stepped up to the plate in so many games it was amazing” Howard said. “The first few times we played, (opponents) couldn’t believe it. When they realized it, she just kept on doing it.”
In a late-season win over rival Maryville, the future Lady Bulldog pumped in 28.
“She’s one of the most improved players I’ve ever coached,” Howard said. “She just did so many things for us.”
Inman, who carried a 4.12 grade point average in the classroom at Heritage, credited her coaches, teammates and family for much of the change her senior year. The All-Blount County and All-District 4AAA performer was named the East Tennessee Scholar Athlete of the Year at the close of school in May. At Wesleyan she will be on a full academic scholarship.
“I think I finally just got the confidence in myself that I’d been missing my junior year,” Inman said. “That was a long time coming.”
The senior-year outburst accompanied a move from shooting guard to point guard to fill a pressing team need.
“That was so different from waiting on the side (at shooting guard), waiting for someone else to do everything,” Inman said.
Few players he’s coached, Howard said, were so well suited to do just that.