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Aniyah Hampton is an incoming sophomore at Hudson's Bay High School in Vancouver. As a freshman, she helped lead the Eagles to the 3A state regional round, the program's best finish since 2007. She is the author of a periodical public journal with Scorebook Live Washington, which takes fans behind the scenes of her basketball journey.

Hello, I’m Aniyah Hampton and I attend Hudson’s Bay high school, where I just finished my freshman year. And what a year it was. Our team made its deepest postseason run since 2007, a run to the regional round of the 3A state tournament (top-16 in state), with a team core comprised of freshmen and sophomores.

Right now, my summer has been spent rehabbing from a ruptured Achilles tendon (more on that in a later entry), which means slowly working in weight training and agility work. If you want to become a better player, summer is the time where good players are separated from great players. The great players are working and doing all the extra work. 

For me, my transition to the speed and level of high school basketball, especially as a freshman, was the product of two specific experiences.

And not just any ordinary experiences.

The first: I played on a boys teams.

From ages 8 to 12, I was invited to play with an all-boys club team by my then-coed rec coach, Mark Frazier. It massively impacted my playing style, and has turned me into the player and leader that I am today. It’s taught me to be more aggressive, handle increased contact, and to attack the paint with purpose. 

And it was really fun. 

They treated me as just another teammate and we’ve remained good friends off the court, too. Coach Frazier called on me as a leader (even more so than the boys), which is where much of my leadership today came from.

My first time playing with girls was my 8th grade year with the club Team Oregon. It was a challenging transition from playing with boys for my entire young career to playing with girls. I had a hard time with the pace and adjusting to my role on my new team. In my experience, boys basketball and girls basketball are two different styles of play. 

Boys I played with and against were constantly running, more aggressive, bigger and stronger than I had faced before. Adjusting to the new position was difficult as well. 

On my boys team I was a forward. I got rebounds, put backs and finished inside the paint. With my new girls team my coach wanted me to bring up the ball, control the offense and relied on me for the majority of the scoring. It took me a while to get adjusted to my team, teammates and role but now it’s all come together.

But my most formative basketball experience? During the summer before my freshman year, I played with Holla, an amazing organization in Portland. I started out playing 17u — three years up — with Holla and it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had playing basketball. Playing with older girls at my same level impacted my game in so many ways. I couldn’t just rely on my natural strength and athleticism, but I had to play smarter and much harder than I have before. 

I chose to do this diary because I want to shine a light on the work all athletes put in for their season and club because there is so much behind the scenes that other people don’t see that goes into our games.

Really, my journey is just beginning. Stay tuned.