Girls Basketball: Leilani Beckham keeps Upper Darby on steady path

Leilani Beckham is a point guard in every sense of the word. She is a smart, unselfish basketball player who doesn’t take shots very often.

That’s the way the Upper Darby senior prefers to go about her business.

Beckham has been playing varsity for coach Colleen Hafich since her sophomore year. She normally flies under the radar, often taking a back seat to UD’s top scorers. Last year it was Katie Fitzpatrick (Mansfield) and Tyra Polite, and this season it is Polite and Dominique WIlliams.

Beckham is a terrific on-the-ball defender and a true floor general on offense. If she so desired, Beckham could easily average double figures in scoring.

But that’s not her style.

“I don’t ever think about (scoring a lot),” Beckham said following a game at Haverford High earlier this month. “Ever since I was little, I’ve always played this way. I’ve always wanted to look out for my teammates and pass the ball.”

Beckham is at time unselfish to a fault. Take the Haverford game as an example. There was a play where Beckham corralled a rebound directly underneath the basket. She was all alone. Instead of putting the ball back up for an easy two, she dished it to Williams, who was charging through the lane.

“She is such an awesome kid,” Hafich said. “That’s who she is. She is the kind of player who is always looking to make her teammates better. It’s never about her. She doesn’t so much good, both on and off the floor. She is a tremendous student and has never been in a lick of trouble.”

For Upper Darby to compete for a Central League title, and make it back to the PIAA Class AAAA playoffs for the second year in a row, the Royals will need Beckham to keep doing her thing.

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