There is no shortage of female basketball talent in northwest Ohio, including Erica Haney and Natasha Howard.
Another standout talent is Zia Cooke, who is in her junior year at Rogers High School.
She is a junior Olympian with high aspirations extending beyond high school.
“When I went to USA basketball, it helped me practicing against players who were the best," Cooke said. "They played tough defense on me. I learned to get away, do what I can to work in practice and doing different drills, trap drills, having people play good against me.”
On Monday night, the Rams trailed Notre Dame by 16 in the second half, then Cooke took over.
She scored from almost everywhere on the court, finishing with 28 points, most of which in the fourth quarter. Led by Cooke, the Rams stormed back for a win.
“She’s more patient this year, understanding basketball games," her coach Lamar Smith said. "The process of things now, Zia’s really grown up understanding how to set things up, be calmer, knowing where she needs to be. It’s paying off big time.”
So far this year, Cooke is averaging 20 points per game with plenty of opportunities to increase that total.