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BK Outstanding Student Athlete: Marian's Anija Payne

WSBT 22 Photo

The Marian girls basketball team is off to an impressive start this season.

The Knights are 7-1 and currently ranked fifth in the state in class 3A.

We’re introducing you to four-year starter Anija Payne who has designs on leading Marian to new heights.

"I'm a great rebounder, defensive player,” said Payne. “I could guard a guard, post, anything you want really, and I can finish."

Anija Payne has been putting the hurt on area teams as a four-year varsity starter at Marian High School.

“ Anija has played on varsity for four years and I've had her for two,” said her coach. “She's truly a well-rounded player. She normally guards the other team's best player. She's long and fast, one of the few players who can guard all five spots on the floor. She's our second leading scorer and leading rebounder and averages a double-double. She's a real, real big part of our success here.”

She was a key part of Marian's girls basketball historic season last year, when they won their first piece of sectional hardware

"We're actually playing really well together and as a team,” said Payne. “Our defense is what really gets us our wins. The offense is just a plus, but defense is really where it's at. It's amazing. I mean, it’s kind of shocking, but I knew we were going to be one of the top teams out here in Indiana. It's amazing, but it's something I already knew.”

That defense is currently ranked 15th in the state of Indiana among all classes.

Anija's rebounds and stops are topping the individual lists as well -- which is what she believes will finally take the Knights to the next level.

“We have 4/5 of our starters our top 5/6 girls back,” said her coach. “We have girls who know the system that had some success last year but aren't satisfied, and want to keep building on it. We're trying to make Marian into not only an area power, but a regional and state power as well.”

“I feel like we can go to state,” said Payne. “I feel like we are going to state, if we keep playing how we are playing and getting better as a team. Since last year we lost in regionals, I know I have a goal to go to state, so ieveryday I'm motivated to push it harder, go harder, pushing my team. Because we have to go to state -- we can't go any lesser than state.”

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