As a three-year varsity player, junior guard Co-captain Aashni Patel plays a key role on the girls varsity basketball team. As a leader of the team, an aggressive player, and an overall team-oriented athlete, Patel’s dedication has been noticed by her coaches and teammates.
Patel grew up watching basketball, and through those viewings, she developed a love for the sport. She started playing rec basketball, and from there, her athletic career grew. “I love the fact that now I get to be the referee of those rec games,” Patel said. “I remember looking up to the refs and aspiring to do what they did. Now I get that chance, and I’m glad I get to share my love of the game with younger kids.”
Basketball allows Patel to challenge herself continuously and develop her athleticism. “I love the balance between working hard and utilizing a basketball IQ,” Patel said. Since Patel has watched basketball games consistently, she has been able to refine her skills and grow as a player.
Patel also greatly enjoys games since they allow her to further develop the skills she has accumulated through film and practice. “Games are my favorite because I get to showcase certain aspects of the game that are outside of the box,” she said. “I like to make different passes and shoot different shots.”
Playing a central role on the varsity team, Patel consistently has been the leading scorer in games and has played aggressive defense. Her hard work is appreciated, especially by Head Coach Quinn O’Brien. “Aashni is a valuable player and is a focused athlete,” he said. “She is dedicated to her game and has developed close relationships with her teammates.”
Patel emphasizes developing skills and helps to make practices more productive. Outside of critical basketball skills, the team focuses on the value of communication and creating team chemistry. Patel helps to foster this team dynamic by continuing to be an active listener to both teammates and coaches.
As a model for her teammates, Patel showcases great basketball skills and is an approachable and committed team player. She celebrates her teammate’s accomplishments and genuinely wants each player to succeed. “Without my teammates, I would be nowhere,” she said. “We play, build, and grow off each other. There’s nothing better than having a great team win and being able to celebrate it with the girls.”
Junior guard Ashley Buckingham enjoys playing with Patel. “Aashni is a positive leader of the team and consistently pushes everyone to be better,” she said. “She sets an example of hard work and brings energy to every practice and game.”
As the winter season comes to a close, Patel is proud of the performance the team had during crucial games. She already looks forward to her senior season, where she is sure to continue to be a positive and valuable presence on the team. “Season one is done, but with everyone returning, season two is going to be stronger than ever,” she said.