Toledo's Zia Cooke makes USA Basketball Women’s U16 National Tea - Toledo News Now, News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Toledo's Zia Cooke makes USA Basketball Women’s U16 National Team

Zia Cooke (USA Basketball) Zia Cooke (USA Basketball)
TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) -

The U.S. has seen a handful of great athletes come from Toledo, Ohio.

One more has been added to the list.

After 133 hopefuls endured four days of trials at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, 18 finalists were announced for the 2017 USA Basketball Women’s U16 National Team on Monday morning. 

Only twelve girls would go on to make the final cut and the final roster.

Zia Cooke was one of them.

Cooke is only a sophomore yet a powerhouse for Rogers High School girls’ basketball team averaging 22 points a game for them last year. Heading into this past basketball season, she was already being recruited by big-name schools like UConn, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio State and Michigan State.

Zia Cooke is more than a great basketball player. She is a products of TPD's Police Athletic League (PAL).

"All I can say is it's a blessing to get invited and not have to pay so it makes me hungrier to get it done,” Cooke explained.

"This is something all of Toledo should be proud of," said Sgt. Mack Collins with the Toledo Police Athletic League.

Zia became a part of the Police Athletic League when she was in 4th grade.  PAL gave her the opportunity to travel the country playing basketball and be coached by the best, all funded by donations to TPD and PAL.

"This is what our police department is about, this is what PAL is about," Sgt. Collins said.  Supporting kids giving kids the opportunity to reach their goals and I want people to know the police department is in the community helping others out."

Along with all the support she received from the community, to reach such a high level, talent is important.

“As with every trials in our country, it’s an extremely competitive process,” said Carol Callan, USA Basketball Women’s National Team director and chair of the selection committee. "We feel like we were able to find 18 athletes who are versatile, who have every position and type of player covered, that can push the ball, play in the half court and defend in many ways. We have 18 athletes that will make it difficult to get to 12 players, but we feel the team that will be selected will be successful in Argentina.”

The USA will compete in the 2017 FIBA Americas U16 Championship from June 7 through June 11 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

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