Gulf Coast mourns basketball player Keshawn Johnson

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Gulf Coast State College and the Lady Commodores basketball program is mourning the loss of sophomore student athlete Keshawn Johnson.

Johnson was killed in a car crash late Friday night on I-75.

The administration confirmed Johnson's death through a press release on Saturday evening. Women's basketball head coach Scovel expressed her sorrow in an official statement.

“Today our basketball family has lost a great friend and teammate in Keshawn Johnson," the statement reads. "We will certainly miss that beaming smile and personality, but she will forever be in our hearts and minds. The coming days and weeks will be tough, but we will work hard to make her proud of her Gulf Coast Commodores.”

In her freshman season, Johnson appeared in 30 of Gulf Coast's 32 games, earning a spot in the starting lineup three times. She averaged 2.7 points and 2.7 rebounds in approximately 11 minutes per game.

Scovel recruited Johnson out of Leesburg High School in Leesburg, Florida. In high school and college, she was beloved by her coaches and teammates for similar reasons.

"She was fun to be around as a person," Scovel said. "I think probably the biggest thing, and I've read it over and over and seen the social media, one continuous thing is that smile. I think that we have a great memory of her that whenever you're having your moment, you can just think back to that smile or go back to a picture and it kind of just puts you at ease."

Gulf Coast participated in a shoot-around session Sunday afternoon. Scovel admits the basketball court will be a place of comfort in the midst of sorrow. It's also part of how the team hopes to honor Johnson's memory.

"In athletics, you see a lot of personal agendas and for Keshawn, it was all about the team. I think the best word for Keshawn is that her teams, they were her sisters. Literally--it wasn't just a friend and a teammate. It was sisters to her. It was family. It was family and it was sisters and that's exactly how she saw them and that's how she treated them. That's how I'm sure all of her teammates are going to remember her. She was their sister."