By: Khadee Hession
To say that Saint Thomas Aquinas Girls’ basketball team has overcome some adversity these past seasons is an understatement. Since Saint Thomas Aquinas High School first opened, the school was never known for girls’ basketball. The school was always known for other sports, especially football. Girls’ basketball recently began their ascent to become one of the top teams in the country.
Until 2020, every single sports team for Saint Thomas Aquinas had won a state championship except for the girl’s basketball team. The team changed that in their 2019-2020 season as they won their first ever title. Coach Oliver slowly built up the team to be a powerhouse. The team also won again in the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 season. This year promises to be the best team yet. They are prepared to make a trip to Nationals this year and bring home a title with their 2 senior starters, Reina Green and Karina Gordon, who have the skills and mindset to lead the team to success..
Reina Green is an all-around player. She can shoot the open jumper, get rebounds for her team and can lock up on defense. This year being Reina’s senior season, she has a lot to prove and this is a great year to do it. In regards to starting as a senior, Reina said, “I feel good. I prepared myself mentally and I feel like as a team, we put in a lot of work and a lot of hours and dedication and I believe our focus is right where I feel we can take the state championship home and hopefully nationals.” Reina has been in the gym countless hours with her team and put in work by herself. She loves winning, and she wants to show how great of a player she is on the big stage.
Karina Gordon, who has been on the team since her freshman year is excited for this year’s season and her biggest focus is to win States and have a trip to Nationals for the first time ever in school history. Karina says that the biggest difference from last year to this year is her new role as captain. “This year I feel like I have a bigger role and I now have to step up and be the captain and the team leader. Last year we had different captains who graduated but I was also a top player for the team last year but with them all graduating, it’s just different now. We play Monteverde this year who won nationals last year and we also play Lake Highland who has been a state dominator for a few years now. We play many difficult games this year but we are more prepared than ever and I couldn’t be more excited for the season to start and show everyone how good of a team we are.” Both of these seniors are more than ready to lead this team in their last high school season and end it on a great note. Karina just committed to ECU and Reina is still undecided on college. Basketball gives these girls great opportunities to get a free education and stay healthy while playing a sport that they love. Playing for Saint Thomas Aquinas gets the players a lot of exposure. All they have to do is play as hard as possible and show that they can compete in college and that is what they have been focusing on doing.
The girls’ basketball team has many other top contributors and they want to win just as much as the seniors do. Players include: Kam, a guard who attacks everyone no matter their size; Khadee, an all around player; Nyla, a center who can shoot from anywhere and get double digit rebounds; Mya, who can body anyone out of the way and also grab double digit rebounds. There are many other players that contribute to the team. Basketball contains many benefits for these women and they devote their free time to becoming a dominant force on the court!