Friday, June 29, 2012 | 7:08 AM

Shatori Walker-Kimbrough says one of her goals at some point in the near future is to dunk a basketball.  Maybe even next season at Hopewell High School.

But when it comes to the best female athlete in the WPIAL, Walker-Kimbrough is a slam-dunk winner – again.

Walker-Kimbrough recently finished her junior year at Hopewell, and it was a year to remember. Walker-Kimbrough played three sports for Hopewell, but did more than just play them. She excelled in all three. More accurately, she dominated in the three.

Walker-Kimbrough played volleyball and basketball and also competed on Hopewell’s track and field team. During Walker-Kimbrough’s junior year, there were WPIAL titles in two different sports, a near WPIAL title in another and some terrific individual performances.

Walker-Kimbrough is the MSA Sports female athlete of the year for the 2011-12 school year. Walker-Kimbrough was picked among all WPIAL schools. This award, though, is nothing new for Walker-Kimbrough. She is the first ever two-time winner after she won it last year as a sophomore.

But as for that possible dunk, the 5-foot-11 Walker-Kimbrough said, “I want to dunk next season, if possible. I can dunk a tennis ball. I can grab the rim and everything, but I just can’t palm the ball to dunk.”

That’s funny, because Walker-Kimbrough seemingly had the world of WPIAL sports in the palm of her hand this past year. She was an all-WPIAL and all-state selection in volleyball and helped Hopewell win a WPIAL championship. In basketball, she was the MSA Sports player of the year for the entire WPIAL. In track and field, she finished second in WPIAL Class AAA in the triple jump. This was after she won a WPIAL title in the long jump as a sophomore.

But while Walker-Kimbrough is talented in three sports, and while she had Division I colleges showing interest in her for basketball and volleyball as a junior, basketball has emerged as her top sport. She recently gave a verbal commitment to the University of Maryland on a basketball scholarship.

“It’s debatable right now if I’ll play volleyball [as a Hopewell senior]. I haven’t really decided,” Walker-Kimbrough said. “But I will definitely do track and play basketball.”

Walker-Kimbrough had a tremendous junior year in basketball, but what she will be remembered most for will be her performance in the WPIAL Class AAA title game. It was one for the ages. She had 35 points, 13 rebounds and five blocked shots in a 50-34 victory against South Park. She also set a Class AAA championship-game record, making 16 of 16 free throws.

“Obviously, everyone looks at her performance in the WPIAL championship,” said Hopewell basketball coach Jeff Homziak. “But you saw bits and pieces of that throughout the whole season. You could look at how she took two losses to New Castle and Blackhawk and how she kind of took it personally. From that day forward, she kind of put the team on her back in big games.”

Walker-Kimbrough was terrific in the postseason, averaging 31.5 points in four games.
“I’d like to repeat what we did this year and do it again next year,” said Walker-Kimbrough. “I want to even take it to the next level in states, and I definitely want to win the WPIAL next year in both jumps in track.”

In basketball, Walker-Kimbrough played anywhere from point guard to center for Hopewell and averaged 25.6 points, 10.5 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 3.9 steals and 1.5 blocks. She has 1,676 career points.

“She has always had some skills offensively,” Homziak said. “But I think where she has made her biggest improvement is on the defensive side of the ball.”

And most teams couldn’t figure out a defense for Walker-Kimbrough.


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