Then a freshman, Hill was always in the gym after school honing her basketball skills, anyway, giving Payton plenty of chances to make her pitch.
“In the beginning, I had to talk her into playing” volleyball, Payton said. “I had to seriously sell the program, and once she started she loved it.”
Almost three years later, Hill remains one of the top athletes at the Clinton public school, serving as a captain on the volleyball and basketball teams in her senior season, both now coached by Payton.
Hill, a Howard recruit, added another accomplishment to her impressive résuméat Surrattsville earlier this month when she became the first girls’ basketball player in school history to reach the 1,000-career point mark. The 5-foot-6 guard hit the milestone with a third-quarter jumper in a 61-36 loss to Gwynn Park on Dec. 7.
“I always set goals for myself and that was one of them,” said Hill, who is averaging 16.7 points per game despite the constant attention of opposing defenses. “When I was getting close, I knew all the other teams were going to be gunning to stop me. To accomplish it, made it feel like all my hard work paid off.”
Surrattsville (1-2) picked up its first win of the season Friday night, beating Forestville, 74-60, behind a career-high 38 points from Hill. It was also the team’s first victory under Payton, who took over this season when Demario Newman became boys’ coach.
After reaching her scoring mark, Hill, who was the team’s top scorer each of the past three seasons, said she’s finished with individual goals for the year. She hopes to finish out her career by guiding the Hornets to a fourth straight winning season.
“Now my priority is to help my team get better,” Hill said. “It’s not about me. It’s about them and how they progress and how they grow for next year when I’m not here anymore.”