(Town Crier photo/Trent Fletcher)
Riverside's Marisa Johnson capped off one of the best careers in Lady Rebel history when she inked a letter of intent to play basketball for Williams Baptist College Tuesday afternoon at Riverside High School in Lake City.
A beaming Johnson relished the moment, knowing she would get the opportunity to continue playing the sport she loves for the next four years as a Lady Eagle. Johnson thought her career had come to an end after she competed in the Jonesboro Sun Classic, but WBC Head Coach Carol Halford liked Johnson enough to give her a try out. The Lady Eagle coach liked what she saw, and offered the 5'11' post player a scholarship, which Johnson was more than ready to accept.
"I didn't realize how much I missed playing until I got invited to play in the Sun Classic," said Johnson. "Coach Halford talked to me and asked if I wanted to play and I just went wild. It has really been a roller coaster ride for me."
Johnson helped the Lady Rebels to 28 wins this season, the third most in school history, leading Riverside to a state tournament berth. The three time All-Conference player scored more than 1600 points in her career as well as grabbing over 600 rebounds. Johnson also earned All- Region and All-State honors as a senior, while averaging 12.9 points and 8.1 rebounds per game.
"Marisa is going to be a big plus for Williams Baptist," said Riverside Coach Greg Rainwater. "She is a top notch student who excels in the classroom and will be able to play multiple positions in college. I think there is still so much upside for her. I think she will continue to get better and better. We are talking about a kid who has been All-State, All-NEA, all everything. I don't think we have seen the best from her yet. I really look forward to watching her play on the next level."
"I think Marisa will be a quality player for us," said Halford. "She is a good student, a nice young lady, very outgoing and friendly, and plays the type of ball that we like. She is really going to help us. We are glad she is coming to Williams Baptist."
Johnson will get one more chance to play on the high school level when she represents the East squad in the Arkansas Activities Association All-Star game this summer.