TAMPA, FL -- They’re small.
They’re only eight players deep.
Bayshore Christian is the little school that could. They think they can, they think they can, then they prove to others that they actually can.
“There’s a lot of things special about our team this year,” head coach Shekina Denny said.
Specifically, one special player who has made an immediate impact. The Faith Warriors advanced to the regional finals last season and Domenica Zamora might be the difference maker that gets them to Lakeland and the Final Four this year.
“Domenica came here ready to play,” Denny said. “She really wants to go to college and play and she’s really focused on that. So, when she hits the floor, she’s focused on getting her teammates involved and really leading the team by example.”
In just her first year at Bayshore Christian, Zamora has made herself at home. She averages more than 18 points a game and also leads the team in steals, averaging six per game.
“I like everything, to be honest,” Zamora said. “I love the excitement that I feel while I’m playing. My team, the hard that we do every game, everything.”
That enthusiasm is contagious.
“Especially the younger ones, they are very drawn to her,” Denny said. “ When she’s stealing the ball, getting down the court, they’re getting down the court. They don’t know what she’s going to do next, so they always want to be around her because she’s a playmaker.”
Born and raised in Ecuador, Zamora got hooked on hoops at a very young age. And she got good at it. She earned a spot on the Ecuador Junior National Team. But there was something missing, something she could see on TV in the WNBA and NCAA but not in her home land.
“I see all those players and I was like, I know I can reach that goal,” Zamora said. “I know I can be there and living the dream. It was kind of my dream to come here to the United States to play. You know, it’s like, another level.”
Zamora’s a big part of Bayshore Christian’s international charm. Their roster is a veritable United Nations featuring players from three different countries.
“Here at Bayshore, it’s always been a unique aspect that we have that the different nations come together,” Denny said. “We get used to just learning about each other and basketball is one way that we learn faster.”
They speak the international language of basketball. And this season, they’ve been doing all their talking on the court.
“We definitely take pride in that we love the sport just as much as any other school,” Denny said, “we love each other and because we’re so small, we want to show that on the court with our heart and with the ball.”