GC’s Sutton signs with Mount Olive

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SNOW HILL — Greene Central senior girls basketball player Kaliya Sutton thought it was coming. But when it did, she was still surprised.

The “it” was an offer to play basketball at the University of Mount Olive. Sutton signed a National Letter of Intent with the NCAA Division II Lady Trojans on Thursday afternoon in the Greene Central gym with her family and coaches.

“It’s exciting,” Sutton said. “It’s good, but it was unexpected. The players and the environment are a good fit.”

Sutton was talking to the coaching staff of the Lady Trojans for about two to three months and went to a tryout, where she felt she did well. The 5-foot-9 wing offers versatility to Mount Olive as a player who can play in the post and shoot from outside the perimeter.

“I feel like they’re getting something that could be a secret weapon,” Greene Central head coach Tammy Elbert said. “She’s very athletic. She can handle the ball. I was trying to take the ball out of her hand in high school because someone typically her size doesn’t play guard in high school. If she really works hard, she will transition just fine.”

Sutton was tasked with leading the Lady Rams in her senior season after the leading scorers during the 2017-18 season, Aniyah Jones and Makhala Jones, graduated. Sutton and the Lady Rams went winless in 23 contests this season, but she led the team in points, rebounds, assists and steals per game.

“I’m glad she (Sutton) stuck it out because it was touch and go for a minute,” Ebert said. “It’s an awesome accomplishment, not only for her and for me as the coach, but for the whole program. Something positive came out of it (the season).”

The daughter of Natasha Sutton will major in business management.