Most Phillies fans recall the iconic image of closer Mitch "Wild Thing" Williams after the team clinched the 1993 National League pennant: Williams is leaping in celebration, doing a split in midair, about four feet above the ground.
Well, according to Williams, that picture represents the extent of the basketball skills he passed on to his daughter, Nikola.
"The only thing she got from me is the ability to jump," Williams said, before adding, "I used to be able to jump."
Nikola Williams has been doing more than jumping for the Shawnee girls' basketball team. The scrappy, 5-foot-8 sophomore forward is the leading scorer on a Renegades team off to a hot start.
On Tuesday, Shawnee (3-0), unranked to start the season, upset No. 5 Williamstown, 51-34.
Nikola Williams, averaging 16.3 points, netted a game-high 17 in the win.
She was the catalyst of a gritty team effort that spurred Shawnee to victory despite top player Olivia Askin being out because of a concussion.
"The no-fear attitude that we have is really coming together this year," Nikola Williams said. "It's our second year playing together, and the team is really clicking."
We aren't about to compare the Shawnee girls' basketball team to the 1993 Phillies.
But to sum it up, the Renegades are a scrappy, hard-nosed team, devoid of flashy superstars but stocked with gritty gamers unafraid to stand nose-to-nose with higher-rated teams.
If nothing else, Wild Thing certainly appreciates the team's style. On Tuesday, he was sitting in the front row, animated, vocal, and hanging on every possession. He said he preaches that tenacity to each of his five children.
Nikola "has four brothers, and she's probably the toughest of all of them," said Mitch Williams, who spent three of his 11 major-league seasons with the Phillies and settled in Medford 11 years ago. "I'm really proud of her. She's a good little ballplayer."
Although Nikola Williams, a middle child, was born in 1997, after her father's playing days, she points to her dad's on-field attitude as influencing her.
"My scrappiness definitely comes from my dad," she said.
And it's something embraced by her team.
"This team has probably dived on the floor for loose balls about 30 times so far this season," Renegades coach Brian Anderson said. "And it's really fun, as a coach, to see that kind of effort."
Seasoned rookie. Those who don't follow South Jersey girls' soccer might have been a bit surprised by Haddonfield freshman Taylor Sehdev's 14-point outburst on opening night.
The forward looked like a seasoned vet in her first high school basketball game, and that probably makes sense.
Any nerves associated with starting on a high school varsity team as a freshman were more than dealt with during a soccer season in which Sehdev started in goal for a team that recorded shutouts in its first eight games.
"I've already had to adapt to that kind of pressure," Sehdev said. "Now, it's just a different season."
That's not to say that the start of her high school basketball career was any less special.
"I've been watching [Haddonfield girls' basketball] since I was little," Sehdev said. "And to score 14 points in my first game, it's what I've been dreaming of."
Despite losing its first game to seventh-ranked Sterling, Haddonfield looks promising this season.
The Bulldogs returned a solid core, led by junior forward Haley Raymond, one of the area's best all-around players.
With the emergence of Sehdev, clearly a natural all-around athlete, the Bulldogs (1-1) expect to improve as the season progresses.
Sehdev is "calm, she's cool, and she's collected out there," Haddonfield coach Dave Kosa said. "She has a lot of confidence in herself as far as scoring and shooting the basketball. She has a lot of potential, and we're looking forward to building on it."