Lady Panthers look up to sophomore post
By LAUREN JETTE
If you ever happen to walk near the girls locker room before a basketball game, it will probably sound like a drumline is holding practice with all the noise being generated, but that’s just one ritual that has developed among the Lady Panthers basketball team members.
In the middle of all that racket is where you’ll find sophomore Sedona Prince, who at 6’7”, towers over her teammates.
The pre-game ritual was born earlier this season after making noise on lockers just wasn’t enough.
“I think we were making beats on lockers one day, like beat-boxing and (senior teammate) Autumn (Lange) texted me and was like ‘we should drum, I have a bunch of drumsticks at my house’ and I was like, ‘yeah, that sounds awesome’ so she gave me drumsticks,” Prince said.
That first pair didn’t last long, however.
“I broke them because we were banging on the floor so hard, so I had to buy new ones,” Prince added.
“We have personalized drum sticks. Mine light up and Autumn’s are painted and we bang on lockers and do damage, but it’s fun for us,” she added with a laugh.
While her height advantage on the court is obvious, Prince has put in plenty of time and hard work to be more than just a tall presence on the court.
In her first year of playing at Liberty Hill High School, Prince has helped the Lady Panthers jump out to a 21-3 record on the season so far, after starting the season with a 17-game win streak.
Part of the team’s success comes from the bond formed between all the players.
“Our team bonds together really well which is really nice. We just have really good chemistry,” Prince said.
“We’ve really come together well. That’s when I knew this was going to be a good team, when we all started laughing in the locker room and having inside jokes.”
That bond reflects on the court, according to head coach Chris Lange.
“(Sedona is a) great team player, gets along with everyone,” he said. “She is very unselfish and a great rim protector.”
After spending last season at Faith Academy in Marble Falls, a small private school that made it to the semifinals in the playoffs, Prince is happy to be back with friends and teammates she grew up playing with, and adjusting to a larger court and school.
“It’s a lot bigger. Just the basketball side of it, the stands are bigger, there’s a lot more people coming to the games,” Prince said of the differences between the two schools.
“It was just really small and you felt closed in, but here it feels open and you can walk around the school. It’s just really fun and there’s more people here, which is nice too.”
The transition into fitting in with a new team has been seamless for both Prince and the team, according to her coach.
“She has come in and fit from the start, that is a credit to her and her family,” he said. “Her personality is infectious. She gets along with the seniors as well as the ninth graders. This is also a compliment to the senior group of girls that love having her around. You would not know looking from the outside that she was not here last year.”
This past summer, Prince was invited to tryouts for the USA Basketball U16 team in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Prince competed against several other basketball players and earned a spot on the team, which traveled to Mexico to compete against other teams from around the world.
“It was awesome. Just getting accepted to go to the USA Trials was really cool and meeting new friends,” Prince said.
“I never thought I was going to make it and when I did, going to Mexico and walking around town there, it’s a beautiful city that we went to. It was lifelong friends and memories and I was glad that I went.”
The experience showed Prince that she shouldn’t rely on only her height on the court during games.
“(That experience) taught me that I wasn’t the only 6’7” post in America,” she said.“There’s top posts out there that could beat me every single day, so just to continue working and be physical. That was the main thing, be physical and work hard even if you are in (the game) one minute or 10 minutes.”
On the court, Prince has a commanding presence, and uses her skills both on offense and defense, but it wasn’t always that easy for her.
“I started playing basketball on my back court with my dad,” Prince said of how she was introduced to the sport.
“I was tall and clumsy, a 6’1” 11-year-old. It was hard, but I had no idea I was going to be where I am now.”
“My dad, we used to play football outside a lot, pass the ball back and forth and he taught me about sports,” Prince added.
“One day, he got a basketball goal and said ‘start shooting.’ All my friends were playing basketball. The sophomores, we all played basketball together. It was like fourth or fifth grade when I started getting on a club team. I’ve loved it ever since.”
While her height gives her an advantage on the court, it also makes life difficult, Prince admitted.
“It’s hard to date, do everything that a teenage girl can do, because finding clothes is hard, finding shoes is hard,” she said.
But there is a silver lining to being the tallest girl in the school.
“It’s difficult, but I get to play basketball at very high levels so that’s a positive.”
With interest coming in from several different Division I schools, Prince said she recently reopened her recruitment after giving a verbal pledge to The University of Texas in the eighth grade, although she said she will wait until her junior year to take official visits.
Prince, who is named after the city in Arizona—the place where her parents were married, said she’s not sure where her or her 6’6” brother Diego’s incredible height comes from, as her mother is 5’10” and her father is 6’2”, “so we don’t know where we got it from. No one in our family is extraordinarily tall, so we don’t know.”
With two more inches she could possibly grow into before she leaves high school, the future looks bright for Prince—way above the crowd.