High School Sports

Peach County’s Woolfolk the focus of opponents, major college programs

FORT VALLEY -- When a player of huge impact leaves a team, there is talk of having big shoes to fill.

Nausia Woolfolk has another season of basketball to play at Peach County, and in her case, it’s literal, on two counts.

For one, she’s likely to graduate as one of the top one or two players in school history with offers from Final Four and top-25 programs.

For another, well, she wears big shoes.

“I do,” she said with a laugh. “I’m in a 12 1/2. I’ll probably be in a 13 by summer.”

The summer is a crucial one for Woolfolk as she prepares for an intensified recruiting process and a senior season she hopes finally lasts past the second round of the playoffs.

“I’m feeling it,” she said, more about a memorable senior season than recruiting. “I’m already looking ahead.”

The resume college coaches will see keeps growing, with Woolfolk named earlier in the week by the Georgia Sports Writers Association as the GHSA Class AAA girls state player of the year.

And the latest addition for the junior is the 2014-15 Telegraph All-Middle Georgia girls player of the year.

Peach County’s Maxine Cherry said next season is her final one as head coach. No coincidence that it’s Woolfolk’s senior year.

“Yes,” Cherry said with a laugh about not leaving before Woolfolk. “Most definitely.”

Cherry has coached Woolfolk bloodlines throughout her 31 seasons with the Trojans, including Woolfolk’s mother, Charlotte.

She was a point guard who was also a track and field standout, not unlike her daughter. Nausia also competes in track: 100 and 200 meters, 4x100 relay, the shot put, and triple, high and long jumps .

“Mom was good, too,” Cherry said. “Her mom could play any sport.”

But the daughter has quite the edge in basketball, with help from mom, who still laces up the high tops.

“Every Sunday at the park, South Peach Park,” Nausia said. “I’m getting her.”

Charlotte is about 5-8, an inch or two shorter than Nausia. Her father has the height, standing about 6-4. And yes, they play, too.

“I’m getting there,” she said. “It’s the height. But he gets tired too quick. He gives up on me some times.”

Newly retired Peach County boys head coach Rickey Wray has watched Woolfolk’s progress on and off the court, and raves about both. But he also can’t get away from those feet.

“She’s just got big feet,” Wray said. “She’s not done growing. I think she’ll get to about 6-1 before she leaves.”

Woolfolk led the 23-4 Trojans with 28 points a game, seven rebounds, four assists and four rebounds a game. She and Cherry agree on one point of improvement for the season: being more individually aggressive.

Cherry said Woolfolk needed to just take over more, and Woolfolk admitted as much.

“I think I held back a little bit,” Woolfolk said of last season. “Like taking over when I needed to. I was doing more giving (teammates) the ball when I should have stepped up and took control, and then gave them the ball.”

Her offseason will be spent working on being more vocal, as well as improving use of her left hand. And it’ll be also spent dealing with recruiting.

Her first offer came from Louisville during her sophomore season. The latest offer is from Florida State. And in between? A who’s who of women’s basketball, from national champion Connecticut to Baylor to the requisite SEC and ACC programs.

Throw in that she’s an A student, and life will only get busier for the girl who started watching college basketball at age 5.

“She could have started as an eighth-grader,” said Cherry, who also coached Woolfolk’s aunts. “She’s very coachable, very well-mannered, a coach on the floor. Great leader, on and off the floor.”

Those shoes, literally and figuratively, look to only get bigger.