Alynna Williams wasn't using her speed. She knew it, and her father, Wallace Williams, knew it, too.
Wallace told his daughter, the point guard for Plymouth Whitemarsh High, that she was almost always going to be the fastest person on the basketball court. She needed to utilize it, he said. The other team shouldn't be able to guard her, Alynna Williams recalled her father telling her after a summer league game.
The conversation helped something click for the senior. Now, after a lot of practice, she knows how to use her quickness, her second gear.
"When I get in that second gear, no one can stick with me," Williams said. "After that first step, I'm gone."
After leading the Colonials (4-2) in scoring a season ago, the Philadelphia University recruit has become more versatile this year, averaging 17.6 points a game. She has immersed herself in the system, and coach Dan Dougherty says her increased knowledge of every player's role has made her more well-rounded offensively.
"Last year, she focused on where she was supposed to be," Dougherty said. "She knows all five spots on the floor and has a better grip on the total offense now.
"She's such a dual threat," he added. "She can take you off the dribble or she hit an open shot."
The captain has also become a better leader, a role she cherishes.
"As soon as energy drops in our practice, I don't have to say something," Dougherty said. "Alynna Williams is going to say something."
Her new demeanor, something she actively worked on, was on full display against Upper Dublin last week. Williams clapped intently from her spot atop the key when her team successfully ran through the offense. She shouted out plays and encouraged teammates after turnovers.
Late in the fourth quarter, Williams hit a three-pointer after struggling with her shot all night. The contest was already out of reach for the Colonials, but the bucket re-energized the team.
As she went back on defense, Williams returned to the frenetic pace with which she had been playing all game. Whether her squad was up three in the first quarter or down 20 in the third, Williams didn't stop.
She flew down the court in transition and raced through the lane to get to the hoop. Every once in a while, she stopped to catch her defender off guard with a stutter-step, but then she was back to top speed.
That speed is taking her to a new level.