By: John Raffel
East Lansing's Hampton wins Miss Basketball
Miss Basketball came to East Lansing this season.
The award went to Jaida Hampton, who was named the state’s top senior by the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan.
She’s the second Trojan player to earn the honor, along with Klarissa Bell, a 2010 East Lansing graduate.
She averaged 16.1 points and five rebounds while hitting 63 percent of her shots from the floor.
Hampton realized her goal of playing in the state title game when her Trojans won their semifinal contest over Wayne Memorial 60-52 on March 16 at Calvin College.
She only had seven points with 2-of-8 shooting that day, but grabbed nine rebounds. Aaliyah Nye picked up the slack for East Lansing with 16 points and 10 boards.
“We had to relax and kept telling each other to calm down and relax,” Hampton said. “We do like to play fast.”
But it was a disappointing state final for Hampton, whose team lost 57-36 to Saginaw Heritage. Hampton struggled with 1-of-13 shooting and had six points. Nye had 18 points.
But she still reigned as Miss Basketball of Michigan.
“I am appreciative I was able to be honored with award,” Hampton said. “It’s been a long road and journey for me ever since I was younger. I’m happy that with my support system all the hard work they put in to help me. It paid off. I’m proud of myself. That’s big thing for me to say because sometimes I’m down on myself.”
Hampton was 3 years old when she first started playing the sport and got involved through her mom, who played at Lansing Sexton and Lansing Community College.
She played varsity since her freshman season.
“Every game and every year I get better,” Hampton said. “You get more experience in how you react to certain situations. I’ve gotten better. I’m nowhere near the player I was as a freshman.”
Her 3-point shooting was the best part of her game going into the season.
“But they’ve fallen off,” she said, adding that she’s focused on other shots. “I was calm with my shots. Now teams run out to me quicker and I’m rushing it. I need to slow down on my shot.”
The team didn’t necessarily enter the season pointing to a state title.
“It’s always been our goal to get here,” she said. “But we took it a game at a time. Winning (a state title) would have meant more to me than winning Miss Basketball.”