Ariyanna Simpson broke her left arm as a freshman playing girls basketball for Coahoma Early College High School, but as a sophomore she worked her way up to the “sixth man” in the rotation.
As Simpson, who is a post player, looks ahead to being an upper classman on the Lady Tigers, she recognized how her role is about to significantly increase.
Simpson currently stands at 5 feet, 6 inches, but believes she will be between 6-0 and 6-2 by the time she is scheduled to graduate in 2022. She averaged around 3 points, 2 rebounds and 3 assists per game in 10 to 15 minutes of action each game. She said most of her scoring came on 3-point field goals.
“I’ve been playing basketball all my life, ever since fourth grade,” Simpson said.
Simpson was on a championship team as a fifth grader at Jonestown Elementary School and went on to play for Coahoma County Junior High School. She said her biggest improvement in junior high came from the free throw line where she shot close to 65 percent. She hopes to continue building on that.
“I’d say I’m a great free-throw shooter right now,” Simpson said.
Simpson said she will be in the starting lineup as a junior at CECHS.
“I want us to make it to the championship, but we might fall short,” Simpson said. “My goal is to make it to the second round playoffs, but my long-term goal is to make it to the championship.”
“I’m going to try to become a stronger post player and give the team more from my 3-point shot, average more points per game, fix my form so I can give more from the 3-point line and be a stronger post player like my fellow teammate Zykha Blanch.”
Blanch is currently a senior at CECHS and helped Simpson improve her performance in the post.
Simpson’s best game last season came against Coahoma County High School in Clarksdale High School’s holiday tournament. She scored 12 points in a Lady Tigers loss.
“We fell short by 8 points, but usually we lost my double digit, so overall, we played a good game,” Simpson said.” All 12 points came from the 3-point line.”
Simpson said she had fun last season and credited Lady Tigers coach Luster C. Tyler II with doing a good job leading the team to the playoffs.
“I think Coach Tyler can help us to the goal of going to a championship if we keep our minds straight going forward and be the best at everything we do,” Simpson said.
Simpson is continuing to workout and practice even though CECHS has gone to distance learning for the remainder of the semester.
“I want to play college ball,” Simpson said. “First, I want to go to CCC and then, I’d say, Delta State University.”
Simpson plans to major in criminal justice and become a social worker. She is currently an A and B student in school.
“If I see somebody have a bad day, I try to make them happy or help them out with their work,” she said. “I try to brighten peoples’ day.”