4 Downs: Ashantee Wright

Sopho­more has be­come lead­ing pres­ence on girls bas­ket­ball, vol­ley­ball teams

The Progress-Index - - SPORTS DESK - By Nick Vandeloecht Sports Ed­i­tor

PETERS­BURG — Whether it’s vol­ley­ball or bas­ket­ball, Ashantee Wright has been a lead­ing pres­ence for her team on the court.

Last year, Wright shone in a lead­ing group of fresh­men that helped the young but ta­lented Crim­son Wave girls bas­ket­ball team win its open­ing round of the Re­gion 3A tour­na­ment.

Wright has also stood out as a team leader through her play on the girls vol­ley­ball team.

Wright may be a sopho­more, but she and her team­mates have built up chem­istry from play­ing to­gether since sixth grade un­der Latoya Har­ri­son, who af­ter coach­ing them in mid­dle school bas­ket­ball is en­ter­ing her sec­ond year as the girls’ var­sity head bas­ket­ball coach.

Wright talked about how she got into bas­ket­ball, what it’s like play­ing with her team­mates and how she gets ready for games:

FIRST DOWN: What got you into bas­ket­ball?

Wright: At first it was like a com­pe­ti­tion thing, like ev­ery­body else around me played bas­ket­ball...I tried to play and at first I didn’t like it, but then Coach Har­ri­son, she taught me and showed me how to do things, and that’s what made me love bas­ket­ball.

What’s the big­gest thing, the X-fac­tor, that’s kept you in the game? Wright: Work­ing to­gether with my team­mates and be­ing able to win, it mo­ti­vates me. SEC­OND DOWN: What do you feel as a player you bring to the team and bring to the ta­ble to help the team win games? Wright: I know how to take in­for­ma­tion and put it

on the court and help my team­mates out.

A lit­tle bit about your team­mates: what do they bring and what makes them fun to be around?

Wright: It’s like ev­ery­body brings ... some­thing dif­fer­ent to the ta­ble. Janai [Hous­ton], she’s a hard worker. Natalia [Col­lier], if she doesn’t get some­thing right, she al­ways works hard to make sure it gets right. Trin­ity [Price], she makes sure ev­ery­body’s to­gether, makes sure no­body else is slack­ing…

Hav­ing played [with your team­mates since sixth grade], what is that chem­istry like?

Wright: Ev­ery sin­gle year we play with each other, our bond has grown stronger and stronger. [We] play bas­ket­ball all-year-round, so it’s like we’re sis­ters and like no­body can break our bond.

Any fun team bond­ing ac­tiv­i­ties that you [all] have done to­gether?

Wright: We have sleep­overs, some­times we go to train­ing to­gether, we go out places to­gether. We watch film to­gether some­times on week­ends.

THIRD DOWN:

Play­ing vol­ley­ball, how does that help you stay con­di­tioned and get in shape for bas­ket­ball?

Wright: It helps me work on my ups; like when I’m block­ing at the net [in vol­ley­ball], it helps me to be able to jump up like when I’m get­ting re­bounds[ in bas­ket­ball ]... and also it helps with talk­ing, ‘cause vol­ley­ball is about talk­ing and hus­tling. It helps my hus­tle and talk­ing.

FOURTH DOWN:

For you, what’s like a pregame rit­ual or ac­tiv­ity you do to get ready for mainly bas­ket­ball?

Wright: Well first, I’ve got to pray, be­cause it helps. We al­ways go around and be like: “What are we gonna work

on dur­ing the game?” and “What hap­pened last game and that we need to im­prove that we’re gonna bring over to the next game?”

TURNOVER ON DOWNS TO YOU:

What [are your] fa­vorite hob­bies or ac­tiv­i­ties out­side of bas­ket­ball?

Wright: I just like play­ing sports. I just like be­ing ac­tive and play­ing sports. I just can’t sit there in the house and do noth­ing...

[NICK VANDELOECHT/PROGRESS-IN­DEX.COM]

Peters­burg Girls Vol­ley­ball and Peters­burg Girls Bas­ket­ball player Ashantee Wright.

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