McEachern’s Pachiyaanna “Pachis” Roberts was the brightest star on a roster loaded with talent.
To be sure, Roberts had her share of memorable moments this season. There was the 60-foot shot she hit at the buzzer to cap a 42-point performance in a 64-61 victory against Memphis Central (Tenn.) in the fourth game of the season. There were the acrobatic rebound put-backs on consecutive possessions to help the Indians regain control in the state championship game after Hillgrove had cut a 21-point deficit to 12 at the start of the fourth quarter.
But it was Roberts’ all-around solid play that made her The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s state Player of the Year in 2011-12, according to McEachern coach Phyllis Arthur and coaches of teams that had to face the 5-foot-11 senior.
“We could not have done it without her,” Arthur said. “She does it all. She’s one of those players that’s not stuck in one position. She’s not just a small forward or a power forward or a guard. She can bring the ball up the court; she can shoot it well outside; she can go to the basket; she can rebound. She led us in rebounds and led us in scoring. She led us in blocked shots. She just does it all.”
Said Matt Williams, coach of 4-AAAAA rival North Cobb: “Roberts was the most dominant player in our region. She had the ability to take over a game from the inside, outside or defense. She has length, athleticism and smarts and is very unselfish. McEachern had many weapons, but Roberts was definitely the most dominant.”
Roberts averaged 17.9 points, 10.5 rebounds, 3.8 steals, 2.4 assists and 1.7 blocked shots while leading the Indians to a 33-0 record and the Class AAAAA title. The Indians outscored opponents by an average of 29 points and had just six games decided by 10 points or less. McEachern, the No. 2 team nationally in the most recent ESPN rankings, won four of its five state tournament games by 33 or more points and knocked off two-time defending champion Norcross 64-61 in the semifinals.
“Everyone really expected us to win [the championship] all season,” Roberts said. “We didn’t want to let them down.”
Roberts, who will play for Syracuse University next season, is one of six McEachern players to sign with, or commit to, Division I programs. Fellow seniors Dominique Wilson (Arkansas), Destinie Gibbs (Mississippi) and Kayla Montgomery (Clemson) have signed letters of intent, while junior Mia Cooper has committed to South Carolina, and freshman Te’a Cooper has said she will attend North Carolina.
“I told the girls that with us having six D-I players, it was kinda like sometimes we had five college girls at a time playing against five high school girls,” Arthur said. “There was no excuse for us. We had no other option but to win it. And I harped on that every day, that we had the best team on the court and off the court, on paper and off paper, and there was no reason for us to think about losing games.”