The Braden River girls basketball player talks learning to stop relying on height and her ability to box out opponents.
Bella Patterson is a sophomore forward on the Braden River High girls basketball team. Pirates coach Stephanie Smith called Patterson, who is 5-foot-11, one of the most improved players on the roster this season. Patterson had 12 points and four rebounds in the Pirates' 72-54 win against Brooks-DeBartolo High on Dec. 5.
When did you start playing basketball?
I started at 4 years old back in my old hometown of Springfield, Ill. I was always tall. My family tells me that everyone thought I should try basketball. I ended up liking it a lot.
What is the appeal to you?
I think it's the aggressiveness. Not the physical aggressiveness, but everyone competing as hard as they can. A bunch of girls coming together and putting in the work.
What is your best skill?
Boxing out opponents. I may not be able to jump the highest, but I'm going to try my best to get in there and get the rebound.
What is your favorite memory?
All of last season, just because I came from a small town. Coming into welcoming arms and becoming part of a big family was cool. Eating all our team meals together and getting to play games with people like that was awesome.
What has been your biggest challenge?
Not simply depending on my height to play well, because you have to be able to do other things. You have to be able to think ahead and figure out the right play to make in each situation.
What are your team goals for the season?
Our goal is not only for us to develop as a team and keep our family bond that we have, but also help the newcomers, like Aaliyah [Capers, a freshman], feel like part of the team and help them get better so that their careers will go as well [at Braden River] as all of ours.
What is your favorite food?
Chicken and rice, with some soy sauce and some pineapple.
What is your favorite subject?
First aid, because that's what I want to do when I grow up is be in the medical field. Ever since I was little I have wanted to help people, especially kids.
What is your dream vacation?
I want to go to Venice, Italy. I want to see all the culture and art there.
Which superpower would you pick?
Telekinesis, because you could have any power you want. You could control your entire body, so if you want to fly, you just make yourself fly.
What is the best advice you have received?
To not stop myself at what I think I can do. To go above that and realize I am capable of so much more.
Finish this sentence: "Bella Patterson is … "
… Kind. I may not be the best at some things. I may not do everything right, but my number one goal in life is to be kind to everyone.