By Tony Altobelli
Killeen Daily Herald
Killeen tissue stock took a dramatic climb on Thursday, courtesy of an emotional and historic event that took place for the Lady Roo basketball program.
Standout senior Deasia Johnson placed her name on the dotted line to attend Northwestern State University, becoming the first Lady Roo basketball player in 13 years to sign with a Division I program.
According to those in attendance, the last Lady Roo hoopster to make it to this level was Kim Rogers, who signed out of high school to attend Wichita State University in 1992.
There was hardly a dry eye in the KHS library as Johnson made the official announcement before an impressive of students, faculty, family and friends.
"I'm so excited, I can't even put it into words how much this means to me," Johnson said. "It shows that if you work hard enough and keep focused on what you want to accomplish, it all pays off."
Johnson, who selected Northwestern State over the University of Texas-Arlington, Southeast Missouri State and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, averaged over 10 points and nine rebounds last year and helped guide the Lady Roos to the playoffs for the first time since 1992.
"I'm just so happy and proud of her," said teary-eyed Edwina Johnson, Deasia's mother. "You couldn't ask for a better child. She's so dynamic and she's been a role model for other students to follow."
It is a family tradition to attend Northwestern State and that was one of the deciding factors that pushed Deasia toward her selection.
"My mother and grandmother attended there and when I went to visit, I really felt like I was one of the family out there," Deasia Johnson said.
Killeen girls basketball coach Latisha Rosemond has worked with Deasia since the eighth grade.
"When I first saw her, she was pretty raw," Rosemond said with a laugh. "But looking back, what a wonderful experience it has been having her in our program. She has blossomed into a leader on the campus and has set the example other students should follow.
"I'm very proud of what she's accomplished. She's reached her individual goals and I know she'll continue to work hard to help her team reach their goals as well."
Northwestern State University is located in Natchitoches, La., approximately 77 miles southeast of Shreveport. The Demons compete in the Southland Conference, along with Lamar, Louisiana-Monroe, McNeese State, Nicholls State, Sam Houston State, Southeastern Louisiana, Stephen F. Austin, UT-Arlington, UT-San Antonio, Texas State, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
When asked how she will play at Northwestern State, Johnson summed things up nicely.
"I'm going to be a beast," she said.
Contact Tony Altobelli at email@example.com