Senior reflects on her love of basketball


Photo courtesy of Aliyaah Mercado

During winter sports team picture day, Aliyaah Mercado, senior, poses for the last time. Despite the many losses the team endured, Mercado kept her head high.

When senior Aliyaah Mercado and her friends were freshmen, they wanted to play a sport together. After some thinking, they all decided to give basketball a try. Mercado never thought she’d develop such a love for the sport.

She started high school with the intentions of being a cheerleader. Basketball was the last sport she ever saw herself playing as a freshman.

Mercado chose to pursue basketball throughout her high school years; her love for the sport increased more every year, and she is proud to say she has no regrets.

“Basketball was one of my favorite things about high school,” she said.

“Being able to travel with my friends to tournaments was something I always loved doing and the team would overall bond that way.”
By playing basketball she learned that trust is something essential, not only in life but to the sport as well.

“Because the sport revolves around teamwork, you really have to be comfortable with your team and that’s something I didn’t fully understand until my second year of basketball.”

When Mercado started playing, she had no previous experience so everything was new to her.
“I wasn’t good at all because I didn’t really know anything about the sport,” she said.

“In basketball, there is a lot of restrictions and it was hard to understand the sport at first but I got better and better as the years went on.”

“Getting energetic before my games was another one of my favorite things,” Mercado said. “Singing and having a good time with my team while we warmed up before we would play made us all have a positive mindset during a game.”

While playing basketball, Mercado would be the one to keep her team positive and keep the energy alive.
“Whenever someone felt bad about making a mistake or something, I’d always reassure them that we all mess up and they can’t dwell one little thing, the game goes on.”

One of the biggest complications she faced during basketball was managing her time between cheer.

“Doing both sports at the same time was so stressful. When I had a game for cheer, I’d have practice for basketball or vice versa.”
As Mercado plans out her future, she realizes basketball isn’t something she is going to continue.

“I’m just going to focus on school. Basketball was fun for high school but I don’t want that to be my career.”

Her senior year was by far the best she said, as she was able to display all the skills she learned throughout high school and really witness her growth among her and her teammates.
The team appreciated her positive attitude and explained how she always made games and practices something to look forward to.

“It really seemed like my last year of basketball flew by,” Mercado said. “I wish I could relive every moment.”