STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
For someone who loves statistics, Burnet High School girls’ basketball player Emma Lewis never considered the odds of playing in college. Nevertheless, she signed a National Letter of Intent on April 12 to play at Southwestern University in Georgetown.
According to the NCAA, only 4 percent of high school athletes play basketball at the collegiate level.
“It felt like home,” she said of the university. “It’s really close, they have a pretty campus, and I know a lot of people.”
Lewis’s favorite class is statistics, and she wants to make a career out of it. She especially likes sports stats.
“I think those are so cool,” she said. “It’s the weirdest things you can find.”
One reason Southwestern University might have wanted the Burnet student-athlete is the way Lewis handled herself during a Feb. 15 playoff win against Smithville in the second round of the Class 4A playoffs.
She noted she struggled shooting the ball that night, but when the Lady Dawgs needed a basket, Lewis provided it. Though Burnet led most of the way, the Lady Tigers cut the deficit to 45-39 with six minutes left.
That’s when Lewis scored a bucket then stole the ball and found a teammate for a basket and a 7-0 run in a 40-second stretch. It helped the Lady Dawgs seal a 64-48 victory en route to the Class 4A state tournament.
“She played with a ton of confidence this year,” head coach Rick Gates said. “She always was confident and continued to shoot as the staff instructed.”
While that victory was important, it wasn’t the Lady Dawgs’ favorite of the season.
That came a week later in the Class 4A Region IV final against rival Liberty Hill. Burnet shocked the Lady Panthers in a 52-36 victory, ending a 13-game losing streak to the team just down Texas 29.
Lewis, who shot a season average of 38 percent from behind the 3-point line, said she and her teammates don’t have to pick which was better: beating Liberty Hill or winning the regional championship to advance to the state tournament.
“It helps it was the same game,” she said. “We’re so excited to make history. Everything made it so special.”
Lewis is more than a basketball player. She also mentors eighth-graders in Algebra I and plans to coach Burnet’s eighth-grade basketball team this summer. She noted that many of the middle school players look up to the 2018-19 Lady Dawgs much like many of those players looked up to the ones before them.
“Everybody wants to play,” Lewis said. “Building that program is special. That’s how I want our team to be remembered.”
If she can’t make a career in statistics, she plans to become a math teacher and coach.
“She’s just a special young lady,” Gates said. “We’ll miss her as a leader of our team.”
Southwestern University is a NCAA Division III school and a member of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference.