When their daughter Whitney was in seventh grade, Gary and Patty Williams already knew they had a pretty good basketball player on their hands.
The Fort Worth, Texas, couple thought, though, that to give her the best chance to play basketball in college, they'd have to give up homeschooling her.
"All of the parents whose older kids Whitney had played with in the summer told us we'd have to put her in a private school in order to get noticed,” Gary Williams said Saturday after his daughter's THESA Riders beat K.C. Metro 74-62 to win the 6A 18-under National Christian Homeschool Basketball Championships at Southern Nazarene's Sawyer Center.
It wasn't an ideal situation for the couple, who wanted all of their children to be homeschooled. It was one they were willing to accept, though.
Until they came to Oklahoma City for the homeschool championships six years ago.
"Our exposure to homeschool sports was not very impressive at first,” Gary Williams said. "It wasn't until we got here for the first time and saw the level of play that we went, ‘Wow, we want to be a part of that.' ”
And it's paid off for Williams, as she received looks from many Division I programs before signing with Iowa State.
Although the level of homeschool basketball is good, Williams recognizes how important her summers playing for AAU Team Texas have been.
"It's been vital,” she said. "That's where I got noticed.”
But her homeschool education also has its advantages.
She usually does a short running routine shortly after she gets up each day and before beginning her school work.
When she finishes school around 2 p.m., she'll work out again on her own before doing a bit more school work and then practicing with her team around 6:30 p.
Slideshow: Metro Academy plays for the championship