Putting the ball through the hoop has always been easy for Bastrop senior Casual Williams.

Putting the ball through the hoop has always been easy for Bastrop senior Casual Williams.

In fact, Williams was a teenager before she realized her shooting skills were better than most.

"My jump shot has always been the best part of my game," Williams said. "It just came so natural for me, I never even thought about it. It wasn't until my eighth grade year that I realized I was a pretty good shooter."

As a sophomore, Williams was a key reserve for the Lady Rams' state quarterfinalist team.

Moving into the starting lineup as a junior, she became the focal point of the offense when Javia Kennedy and Star Johnson went down with knee injuries. Kennedy missed the entire season and Johnson went down midway through district play.

Johnson has graduated, leaving Kennedy and Williams to carry the scoring load.

"Getting Javia back has helped us a lot because I didn't want to be the only person handling the ball," said Williams, who splits time between shooting guard and point guard. "Javia has given me some help handling the ball and scoring, too. When Star got hurt last year, it was all one me."

Williams acknowledges, but welcomes, the increased expectations of her expanded role.

"It's way more pressure, really, but it's a good feeling to know people are depending on me," Williams said.

Williams isn't all about scoring. She just has to work harder to develop the other phases of her game. And, the work is starting to show.

"I didn't realize how quick Javia was until the last three or four games," first-year Bastrop coach Gerline Guillaume said. "She is starting to take better shots, and her ball-handling skills have really improved over the past few months."

The past two seasons haven't gone as Williams planned. Injuries derailed the team last season and the Lady Rams are currently in rebuilding mode. To her credit, Williams hasn't changed her approach to the game.

"I still come to play every night, and give my best every game," Williams said.

Williams has also been through a coaching change as long-time coach Emma Brooks retired and was replaced by Guillaume over the summer. Williams says the coaching change was seamless.

"It was a smooth transition," Williams said. "I get along with coach GG. She's a good coach, and a good coach to play for. Coach Brooks taught me how to play defense, and coach GG places a lot of emphasis on defense. It's not a big difference in their coaching styles."

Williams foresees better days ahead for the Lady Rams as her younger teammates gain more experience.

"Mia Hardin, TyDeijah Minnieweather, Jamese Rabun and Cynthia Washington are going to be fun to watch next year," Williams said. "Once they get more comfortable and get some more experience, you are going to see a big difference."

Williams and Kennedy will be honored prior to Wednesday's 5 p.m. Senior Night game vs. Epps.

"I haven't even coached our seniors for a full year, but it's been a great experience to coach both of them," Guillaume said. "I wish I could have both of them for two or three more years. They have done a very good job of leading our team."

With the Lady Rams firmly on the postseason bubble, Friday night's regular season finale at Neville could be Williams' final game. Of course, Williams isn't ready for it to end.

"My goal is for us to make the playoffs," Williams said. "We are going to have to finish strong these last few games."

Regardless of whether or not the Lady Rams qualify for postseason play, Williams' high school basketball days are dwindling.

"It hasn't hit me yet because we're still having fun, but I know it's coming," Williams said. "I'm going to miss everything about playing for the Lady Rams. I like it all — even the practices."

When basketball season is over, Williams will head to the track where she is part of the 4 x 100 and 4 x 200-meter relays teams and competes in the long and triple jumps.

Williams isn't planning on her final high school game being the final chapter of her basketball career.

"I hope to get the chance to play at the next level," said Williams, who plans to go into physical therapy. "Maybe I can start out at a junior college."

Guillaume, who played and coached at ULM, says Williams and Kennedy are both capable of playing beyond high school.

"I look for both of my seniors to play at the next level," Guillaume said.

In Guillaume's eyes, Williams' shooting skills aren't the only aspect of her game that stands out.

"Casual really loves the game," Guillaume said.

Williams' love for the game has driven her to become a more complete player.