Hart excelled after switch to Curtis Baptist

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As a transfer from Richmond Academy, Telia Hart didn't expect to start her first game or become a shooting guard.

Curtis Baptist senior Telia Hart, who transferred from Richmond Academy in her sophomore year, averaged 18.5 points per game and led her team to the playoffs.   Zach Boyden-Holmes/Staff
Zach Boyden-Holmes/Staff
Curtis Baptist senior Telia Hart, who transferred from Richmond Academy in her sophomore year, averaged 18.5 points per game and led her team to the playoffs.

But Curtis Baptist coach Maria Swanson knew Hart could score, so Hart started the first game with her new school.

Since then, there have been three consecutive seasons of 20-plus wins and a lot of baskets for Hart, who is The Augusta Chronicle 's independent girls player of the year.

Hart said it was "a long story" in regards to making the transfer, though it didn't take her long to realize her new teammates would be more than welcoming.

It all came together so quickly and smoothly, it seems Hart knew it was meant to be.

"It's God saying, 'I put you here. You have to make a difference in this school,' " Hart said.

Hart, who will attend Atlanta Christian College for sports management and play basketball there, said that in her first season with the Lady Crusaders, a few teams used the box-and-one defense to contain her. The following year, it seemed every foe was using it.

But Hart adapted and the team kept winning.

The victory mark reached 26 this season. The Lady Crusaders began the season 13-0 and advanced to the second round of the GISA Class AA state playoffs. Two of their three losses came by a point.

"She'll do whatever you ask her to do," Swanson said. "She's an exceptional player all-around."

The 5-foot-3 shooting guard averaged 18.5 points per game to lead the squad. She also had nearly three assists, four rebounds and about four steals a game.

However, both Swanson and Hart talked about the team's accomplishments being a collective effort.

The senior gives credit to the school and her spirituality for her growth as a person. She took a mission trip to Jamaica in March where she helped build a church and worked with the deaf, even using some sign language.

Her time at Curtis Baptist might have made her a better player, but Hart said she also became closer to God.

She also learned how to be more independent and to have patience, saying, "it makes everything more perfect."

Among the other ideas she'll take with her to college is believing in herself -- and expecting the best.

"Always think like a winner," Hart said. "You can't doubt yourself."

About the series

SUNDAY: Wrestler

MONDAY: Swimmers

TODAY: Independent girls basketball

WEDNESDAY: Independent boys basketball

THURSDAY: S.C. girls basketball

FRIDAY: S.C. boys basketball

SATURDAY: Georgia girls basketball

SUNDAY: Georgia boys basketball

Telia Hart

SCHOOL: Curtis Baptist

CLASS: Senior

POSITION: Guard

HEIGHT: 5-foot-3

HIGHLIGHTS: Hart averaged 18.5 points per game as Curtis Baptist went 26-3 ... The senior also averaged 2.7 assists and 3.8 steals per game.

WHAT SHE LIKES

Favorite athlete: Kobe Bryant

Favorite food: Jerk chicken

Favorite TV Show: SpongeBob SquarePants

Favorite movie: Love & Basketball

Favorite music: Likes a variety


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