SOSA Staff Report
WAVERLY — If you watched Zoiee Smith as a freshman, you knew right away there was something special about her.
Even then, she had the ability to make those around her better players, the ability to distribute the basketball evenly and the ability to give opposing defenses fits.
For the past three seasons, that’s exactly what she’s done.
But this coming winter, her final season at Waverly, she’ll be able to do much of the same with a huge decision behind her.
Tuesday, the Tigers’ point guard committed to play basketball at the University of Rio Grande, officially extending her athletic and academic careers.
“Ever since the first time I visited Rio, it just felt like that’s where I wanted to be. You just really get that sense of a family atmosphere and they are really happy you’re there,” Smith said. “The coaches and girls are all great people. I love the location of it, and I love that they have what I want to do. Overall it’s really just the best place for me.”
This past season, Smith led Waverly to an overall record of 12-11 while earning all-conference, all-district and all-state honors.
Her performance on the basketball court followed an injury-shortened season on the soccer field where she scored eight goals. And, of course, last spring, she assisted the Tigers in making a district final softball appearance.
Versatility is one of Smith’s best traits and it’s something that drew Rio Grande’s coaches towards her.
“This process has been a little bit stressful,” Smith said. “But I have the best support system in the world with my family and friends and coaches and teammates … not just in basketball, but soccer and softball as well. It’s just awesome knowing that you always have people in your corner.”
Smith will join a program that already boasts of several local players, including North Adams’ Avery Harper and Paint Valley’s Lexi Woods.
This past year, the group finished 19-13 overall with a 10-6 mark in the River States Conference.
“I’m looking forward to seeing where I can go as a player, as a person and where the team goes in the future,” Smith said. “They have a winning tradition and I am super excited to be apart of that.
“This has been a dream of mine since I was little, and the fact that now it’s becoming a reality is so surreal. It just means the world to know that I’m living out my dream and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”