Being a youngster on a girls varsity basketball team can be tough, and often a player just needs someone to talk to.
Or perhaps a couple of best friends, as in the case of L.D. Bell sophomore basketball players Mya Thompson, Aretha Nash and Lauren Cuevas.
“We were the babies last year, but now we have four freshmen, so they’re the babies,” said Thompson, a 5-5 guard, with a chuckle.
“I’m glad they have each other to lean on, just like we did. It helped me so much having Aretha and Lauren with me.”
Though their action was limited last season, all three are seeing considerable time this season. And they’ve helped the Lady Raiders get off to a nice start in quest of their fifth straight playoff appearance.
“It was a tremendous help being on the varsity last season. I played enough to see the difference between varsity and JV, and it’s helped a lot this season,” Thompson said.
“What we did in practice last season really helped with what we do now,” said Nash, a 5-9 forward.
Thompson and Cuevas, a 5-4 guard, went to Bedford Junior High, while Nash attended Hurst Junior High. With ninth grade still being junior high in the HEB district, they weren’t officially on the same campus until this school year, but basketball brought them together despite the separate campuses.
Or, it could be said they went from twins to triplets.
“They’re my best friends, and we’ve really bonded,” Cuevas said. “The fact that we all played basketball immediately gave us something in common, and we just clicked from there.”
Even before they played on the same team, they knew each other as opponents.
“I always played against them in AAU [Amateur Athletic Union],” Nash said. “We knew each other, and now [we’re] all good friends. I guess you could say it started there, and the three of us being freshmen, we looked out for each other.”
They also helped each other grow up a lot last season. For example, they often took it upon themselves to get extra practice together.
“We’d come up here and practice together, work on things that we knew we had to do to improve,” Thompson said.
And improve they did, said head coach Brock Pembleton.
“Any team has to have chemistry, and a key is for every player to know their role,” he said. “These sophomores have to know their role and get better at that role because that role can change.”
For example, when Alexis Baston got hurt, Thompson had to move from a 2 guard to a 3 guard.
“I definitely had to become more consistent, and I had to become more of a threat offensively,” Thompson said. “My teammates were counting on me more.”