TIMMONSVILLE, S.C. (WMBF) - Area basketball players are familiar with the name Sadé Eli, mainly because they've had so many years of hearing it. But after playing for Timmonsville since the seventh grade, opponents still aren't used to being able to guard her.
"It's a blessing," Eli said. "I was young at that age, and many people don't get to play at that age."
Though she did, and made the most of it, turning her game into one of the most dangerous in the state, which has led to a McDonald's All-American nomination; an honor given to some of the best in the country.
"I was excited," said Eli about the honor. "My mom was excited, everyone was excited for me."
Though she understands her teammates have every bit as much to do with the Whirlwinds being ranked second in the state at the moment.
"I love them, I love them to death," Eli continued. "They're like my sisters. And if it wasn't for them I probably wouldn't get all the spotlight right now, but I give all the spotlight to them. It's not about me. It's about everybody."
Her work ethic has rubbed off on others, and helped take Timmonsville to a state title her sophomore year, and a lower state finals appearance last season.
"I can't say enough (about her)," said long time Timmonsville head coach Perry Stokes. "She's been with me for six years, and she's won a heck of a lot of ballgames, and it'll be hard to replace her when she's gone. She's meant the world to our program."
But it's still important to go out on top as the season enters its final months.
"It's real important," Eli concluded. "I have to keep my stats up, keep doing what I'm doing, and get better."
Timmonsville next takes the court on Friday, visiting C.E. Murray.