Fearless. That’s the best word to describe sophomore Charisma Osborne of Los Angeles Windward.
She fears no situation and no opponent. No challenge is too big.
“She’s a limitless player,” Windward Coach Vanessa Nygaard said.
There was a 35-point performance in the Southern California Division I regional final. There was a 26-point performance in the state Division I final at the NBA arena, Golden 1 Center in Sacramento.
The bigger the game, the better she played, which is why the 5-foot-8 Osborne was chosen the Los Angeles Times player of the year in girls’ basketball.
“I think I’ve improved a lot,” Osborne said. “My teammates helped me in practice. They’re always guarding me extra hard.”
In leading Windward to a 30-4 record and a state Division I title, Osborne stamped herself as one of the top players in California, if not in the nation. She already has scholarship offers from UCLA, USC and California and is expected to garner heavy interest from college powers outside the state.
“She’s so special,” Nygaard said. “She’s still a really young player, and to be put into a lot of adversity — facing a box-and-one, triangle-and-two — it takes a lot of maturity as a player to handle that and to trust your teammates to step up and do what they need to do.”
Osborne averaged 20.5 points a game. She made 88 threes. She was effective shooting from long range or driving to the basket. But she wasn’t just an offensive player. Her defensive expertise helped Windward shut down opponents’ top players while facing a grueling schedule.
One of her strengths is resiliency. Even if shots aren’t dropping, she doesn’t stop attacking.
Windward lost in the opening round of the Southern Section Open Division playoffs, but that didn’t deter Nygaard from making a wild prediction.
“After they lost, I told them we were going to win state,” Nygaard said. “I don’t know if I believed it. I guess I was right.”
Having a player with the versatility and poise of Osborne certainly helped. And she has two more years of high school left.
Follow Eric Sondheimer on Twitter @latsondheimer