When the Collins Hill girls basketball program is mentioned, it’s natural for Maya Moore to be the first name that comes to mind.
Moore led the Lady Eagles to a 125-3 record, three consecutive state titles in the highest classification and a No. 1 national ranking in 2007. She also won Naismith Prep Player of the Year honors twice, becoming only the second player next to Candace Parker to do so.
But the Lady Eagles have another great player who could lead Collins Hill to its first state title since Moore's in 2007. Javyn Nicholson is rated a 5-star recruit and ranked No. 38 overall by ESPN. She is averaging 15 points, 15 rebounds, five blocks, three assists and two steals for the No. 2-ranked Lady Eagles, who entered the Region 6-AAAAAAA tournament with a 24-1 record, 13-0 in league play. She has committed to Georgia.
Although the 6-foot-1 forward is constantly compared to Moore, it doesn’t bother her at all.
“I never get tired of it,” Nicholson said. “I think it’s an honor. She’s one of the greatest players in the history of women’s basketball, and I think it’s a pretty fair comparison. We do similar things, and she has that killer instinct that I’m still trying to get.”
In January, Moore returned to Collins Hill for an alumni celebration to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Lawrenceville school’s opening. Although Nicholson didn’t get a chance to speak with Moore at length, the two met and Moore gave the team a speech before a Lady Eagles game.
“She spoke to the team and told us to keep working hard,” Nicholson said.
That’s the plan for Nicholson as the team enters postseason play. This will be her final run with life-long teammate Bria Harmon, who is the daughter of Lady Eagles coach Brian Harmon. Nicholson and Harmon have been teammates since the fifth grade, with the elder Harmon serving as their coach through that duration.
While Nicholson will go to Georgia, Harmon will play for Purdue.
“They knew (going their separate ways) was coming,” said Brian Harmon. “They had the opportunity to play together, but it boiled down to how far schools were away from each other and what staffs were better for each player.”
Brian Harmon said the duo’s on-court chemistry is better than ever, and at times there’s no need to call a set play.
“They can play like it’s a pickup game,” he said.
“I know everything she’s going to do,” Nicholson said. “It’s easier when you have that chemistry.”
The Lady Eagles’ only loss came against Charles Henderson High School of Alabama (45-37). Nicholson played, but was under the weather.
“That won’t happen again,” Nicholson said.
If that statement holds true, it would mean an undefeated season against Peach State teams, in a state tournament that will include top-ranked, defending state champions Westlake (23-0). It would also mean another link between Nicholson and Moore in the form of a state title.
“I think that would prove those comparisons right and solidify me as a player,” Nicholson said.
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