The Press Newspaper
In her senior year, six-foot tall forward Kre'ana Henry helped bring Waite girls back to the limelight, even though they finished with a losing record. It took her four years of varsity basketball to get there.
From her time as a freshman, when the Lady Indians nearly won the Division I state title, to her senior season, one that saw her earn the Alan Miller Jeweler's Press Player of the Year Award, Henry has made her mark as an area basketball player.
In voting for the POY Award, she defeated Genoa junior wing Ciara Albright, an honorable mention Division III All-Ohio selection, by three votes. Also getting votes were Cardinal Stritch senior guard Abby Mass and Oak Harbor senior post Abbie Gezo. All are first team All-Press selections.
For her efforts this season, one that saw Henry average 17.3 points and 9.4 rebounds, Henry was awarded with a number of distinctions, among them All-Ohio HM in D-I, second-team Northwest District and first team in the City League.
Henry tore the anterior-cruciate ligament (ACL) in her knee 14 games into the season, an injury that caused her to miss the rest of the year. It also makes her accomplishments this season that much more special, considering that she only played roughly two-thirds of the season and was still able to earn the respect of area coaches and media.
Despite that setback, Henry is confident she can recover from the injury, which she will have surgery on this week. Henry will likely play college basketball this coming fall, noting that she will begin her rehab shortly after the surgery is completed.
“I'm proud of myself for still being able to receive those awards even after I went down in the middle of the season with the ACL tear,” said Henry, the Indians' captain. “And I was able to lead my team on and off the court.”
Coach Manny May, now in his 14th season, said Henry made strides during her four years with the program and credited her for being a good leader.
“She grew up a lot from her freshman to her senior season,” May said. “She handled herself (well) in the classroom, on the court and in the community. She has improved a lot as a player — she's always calling to see when the gym is open. She's a dedicated individual.”
He says the thing about Henry that sets her apart is her versatility. She can play both power forward and small forward, making her difficult to defend.
Henry's career has seen steady progression since she arrived as a freshman. She saw some action as that first year while playing for a team led by Natasha Howard (Florida State), Shanice McNeal and Miriah Haynes that nearly was D-I state runner-up in 2010 before moving into the starting lineup and averaging 10 points and nine rebounds during her sophomore campaign. As a junior, Henry averaged a double-double 12 points and 10 rebounds, good enough to earn second-team City League Honors. This year, her game took off to a different level.
It wasn't just Henry this year who helped lead the Indians to an appearance in the City League final this year. Along with fellow post player Latesha Craig, a 6-1 center who averaged 9.8 points and 10.4 rebounds, good enough to earn second-team CL and All-Press honors, the duo was able to form a solid presence in the interior.
Add the help of fellow starters Ramiah Henry, the point guard, shooting guard Yatiah Caldwell, small forward Taylor Works and role players Kayla May, Janae Kenny and Mary Perkins, Waite was able to fight through injuries and finish 8-12 overall and 6-4 mark in the CL, good for third place, before falling to Central Catholic in the D-I sectional semifinals. The Indians had the lead late in that game, but blew it down the stretch.
To this day, Henry still benefits from playing with Howard, McNeal, and Haynes
“She learned about dedication, about hard work,” May said. “She watched them in the gym all day and how they worked hard. There was never a time when they were down. They wanted to have friendship and family (with each other) and she saw the camaraderie they had. They wanted to win the title and they just came up a little.”
Henry added, “I learned that hard work does pay off and in order for you to be successful,” she said, “you have to put in the work and keep God first. And I didn't play when we got down (to state), but it was still a great feeling just to be able to experience that. I wish I could've gotten down there again.
“It's been a fun four years,” she continued. “I should've been better about being serious form the start, but all in all, I have improved a lot over the years.”
Despite the fact that the team is losing Henry, Kenny, and Kayla May, Coach May, whose teams have won four City titles, is optimistic about what lies ahead for this group. Next year, it will feature a deep senior class.
Coach May believes Craig can become an even better post player, that Caldwell could put up 15 to 20 points a night and Ramiah Henry, Kre'ana's sister, is a point guard who is capable over average seven to eight assists. If that trio, along with Works and Perkins, puts in the work during the offseason, the Indians could be on the verge of another great season.
“It's very important that if you want to be a successful player, you work on your game on a constant basis — spring, summer, fall on a 12-month basis,” May said.