Student athlete profile

Name: Maria Rivera

Year: senior

Hometown: Clarendon Hills

How did you react to learning there'd be a girls basketball season?

We really had not hoped as a team that there would be a season. It was literally like we learned it was happening and we had practice the next day. We were all super-happy, and being a senior, I knew this is my last time to shine and to play a sport in high school.

What's your earliest memory?

I've played basketball since I was able to walk. I played in the Jodie Harrison program at The Community House, and now I work there as a scorekeeper.

What do you enjoy about it?

The simplicity of it. I have so much going on in my life. When I'm at basketball practice, I don't think of anything else in the moment and focus on the fundamentals. It's a very simple sport. It's like a stress relief for me.

How would your teammates describe you?

I feel my teammates appreciate that they can always come to me and know I'm trustworthy. I'm always the one to make the hustle plays, and I make sure that everyone knows what to do in a drill before we start.

How have you improved since freshman year?

I've become a more vocal defender, because in our 1-2-2 zone defense you have to communicate. I am definitely the loudest one on the court. I'm better in closing out on the shooter, making sure I don't jump but keep my feet on the ground.

Favorite TV show?

I do not miss a University of Wisconsin basketball game.

How has basketball enriched your high school experience?

These girls will be my lifelong friends. I go to every Central sports event that I can because I love when people come to our games.

Why does coach Karen Persinger like having Rivera on the team?

Maria is an excellent example of what it means to be a Red Devil basketball player, both on and off the court. She is a vocal leader who her teammates turn to for advice and words of encouragement and has been a consistent and steady presence for us in the post the last three seasons. She has grown into an extraordinary young lady who is going to do great things in this world.

- profile by Ken Knutson, photo by Jim Slonoff