Kaitlin Peterson

One of Alabama’s top high school girls basketball players is heading to the land of the Hoosiers.

Eufaula’s Kaitlin Peterson, a rising senior, committed Friday night to play for the Big Ten’s Indiana University.

Peterson, one of the three finalists for the Class 6A State Player of the Year award this past season, chose the Hoosier program over Division I offers from Georgia Tech, Troy, Vanderbilt, Coastal Carolina, East Carolina, Jacksonville State, St. John’s, South Alabama and Wichita State.

“It was a good fit for me,” Peterson said Sunday in a Dothan Eagle interview. “The coaches stayed (communicated) with me every single day. Their program is based off faith, believing in God and going to church. I do that a lot, so I will fit into that. Their style of play — playing fast — is how I play.”

Indiana, in the sixth year of head coach Teri Moren, set a school record for wins this past season during a 24-8 campaign, including 13-5 in the Big Ten.

The Hoosiers were a No. 4 seed in the conference postseason tournament and reached the semifinals before losing to Maryland.

They would have likely received a bid to the NCAA Tournament, but that event was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic and no bids were awarded.

Peterson is the second member of her family to commit to a women’s basketball program in the last two months. Her sister, Rachel Johnson, a 2018 Eufaula graduate, transferred to Wichita State in April after playing at Chipola College last year.

A 5-foot-9 point guard, Peterson is a three-time all-state selection by the Alabama Sports Writers Association, earning third-team honors as a freshman and first-team accolades in each of the last two seasons. She is also strong academically as she carried a 3.4 grade point average during his senior year.

She earned Dothan Eagle Player of the Year honors and Class 6A first-team all-state honors from the ASWA this past season after averaging a Wiregrass-best 23.7 points a game along with 7.1 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 5.5 steals per game. She helped Eufaula to a 25-7 record and an appearance in the 6A Southeast Regional Tournament.

The year before as a sophomore, she averaged 21.7 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 4.6 steals per game.

Peterson becomes the third player in the 2020-21 class to commit to Indiana, but is the top-rated recruit so far. She is listed as the No. 31 player in the class by Prospects Nation and No. 44 by All-Star Girls Report.

She joins Australian wing Paige Price and Rockmart, Ga., guard Keyarah Berry as Hoosier commitments, according to the Bloomington Herald-Times.

“I was going to wait a little longer until July, but I thought I needed to commit now because the 2020-21 class (players) were committing because of the virus stuff going on and they were taking all the spots,” Peterson said. “I felt if I waited any longer, I would not have anything plus I felt Indiana was the school for me anyway, so I went ahead and committed.”

Eufaula head coach Jermieke Cliatt says Peterson is a passionate player who works hard on her craft.

“Kaitlin is a proven winner,” Cliatt said in a Dothan Eagle interview in March. “Ever since her freshman season, she has worked so much on her game and improved in everything that I have challenged her with.

“When she came in as a freshman, all she had was her feet as she was fast. She didn’t have a left hand, but every year in the summer I have challenged her to work on something to elevate her game and she has responded to the challenge. She is passionate about the game as she really loves the game.”

David is sports writer for Dothan Eagle.

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