Ayala Wasser, a 5-foot-5 junior guard at Tampa Prep, is the county's leading returning scorer after averaging 18.3 points last season. While she has enjoyed individual success, the Terrapins have struggled as a team. And while there is pressure being the No. 1 scoring option, she looks forward to the challenge of helping the team to a winning record this season.
When did you get interested in basketball?
I believe I started playing in fourth grade. I used to play a lot with my dad and brother and sister at our house. We had friendly games in the driveway. Well, they always started out friendly, then they would get more competitive the longer we played.
How do you prepare for a game knowing the defense will be keying to stop you?
I prepare the same for every game. I go in ready and confident I'll have a good game. But if I'm the defensive focal point and I can't get my shot off, I just find my teammates and know they'll pick up the slack.
How do you handle the pressure of knowing you probably have to score a lot of points for your team to have a chance to win?
It is a lot of pressure, but you just have to be mentally prepared. I always put a lot of pressure on myself to go out and play the best I possibly can each and every game. But I know I have to stay up and be positive so it can rub off on my teammates.
Who's your favorite basketball player?
I like Tennessee junior Candace Parker. She's not a selfish player and she's a good leader for her team.
I know you're just a junior, but have you thought about your plans for college?
I would like basketball to get me into a strong academic college, preferably a small school. Academics are definitely more important to me, but basketball will play a big part in where I decide to go.