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O'Brien back to playing basketball at Sickles

JEFF BERLINICKE Special correspondent
Published:   |   Updated: March 13, 2013 at 08:09 AM

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TAMPA -

Sometimes, you really can go home again.

That's what Sickles senior Cassidy O'Brien found out when she went through one of the wildest runs in the life of any high school basketball star, beginning her career in her hometown of Tampa, then being sent off to the frozen winters of South Dakota, followed by a brief respite in North Carolina, then a move back to where it all started, at Sickles, where she is the leading scorer on a team that is poised for its traditional trip to the state playoffs and the possibility of posting a state championship banner at the end of the year.

O'Brien was an up-and-coming key to the Sickles program during her freshman season. She had friends and was on the way to becoming one of the top players in Hillsborough County. Then, her dad, Dan O'Brien, the former football coach at Sickles, took a job as an assistant coach at a small school in South Dakota. The culture shock was tough for Cassidy.

"It just didn't work out,'' Cassidy O'Brien said.

She played for one of the top teams in South Dakota, but the weather, the atmosphere, missing her friends, and wanting to get back home made things tough. Soon, she got a chance to go south again – but just not as far as she wanted. She moved in with her grandparents in North Carolina. Her basketball game never suffered, but she still wanted to come back home to Tampa.

She was the leader of her team at Blue Ridge High School, but she always knew she wanted to come home.

"We just decided it would be best if I could go back to Sickles,'' Cassidy O'Brien said. "It was tough leaving here and it is great that I know some of these girls from when we were together as freshmen. My family has always been at Sickles and we all walked these hallways together when were freshmen. It's been easy coming back. It was so cold in South Dakota and now it feels great to just be back home.''

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